Time is short to seek office

Friday, February 27, 2004

If you ever wanted to run for the McCook City Council or McCook Board of Education, now's the time to throw your hat into the ring. As of this morning, only two candidates had filed for the two open seats on the council, and just two incumbents had filed for the three open seats on the school board.

Those already in the race are Mike Gonzales and Ron Soden, who are seeking re-election to the McCook District 17 Board of Education, and Aaron Kircher and Mike Allen, who are making their first runs for council positions.

Kircher, a robot operator at the Valmont office, became interested in council service when petitions were being passed around concerning the water issue.

"I've been attending council meetings since that time to become better informed about the issues," he said. Kircher, a 2000 graduate of McCook High School, gave credit to Randall Datus for spurring his interest in government service. "I want to hear the people' ideas," Kircher said. "Anyone who wishes may call me at 344-9001. "If I'm at work or away from the phone, callers are welcome to leave a message."

In his bid for council service, Allen said his goal is "to see the budget cut in order to make McCook a more affordable place to live." Allen, who handles construction sales for Klein Motor & Electric, has lived in McCook all his life. He and his wife, Brenda, have two children: Stacy and Danielle. Allen has been a member of the rural fire department for 18 years, and currently serves as the assistant chief.

Gonzales, executive director of the McCook YMCA, and Soden, marketing manager of Kugler Company, are both seeking their second term on the school board. Jack Clark, the other board member whose term is expiring, chose not to run for re-election.

While all the candidates have a strong desire to serve, they all join in encouraging others to run, too. This is a crucial time in McCook's history, with the council still trying to resolve the water quality crisis, and the school board faced with facilities' problems and reduced state aid.

If you do want to file for the city council or school board, it's a simple process. For City Council filings, candidates need to go to the City Office, located on the south side of the McCook Memorial Auditorium, to pay an $18 filing fee. The candidate will get a receipt, then proceed to the office of the Red Willow County Clerk at the courthouse to make the official filing for office. For local school board candidates, there is no filing fee. All that's required is a trip to the County Clerk's office to fill out the filing form.

If you are thinking about filing for the council or school board, you don't have much time to make up your mind. The filing deadline -- for both governing boards -- is Monday, March 1, at 5 p.m. The county clerk and city offices usually close earlier, but Monday they are going to stay until 5 to accommodate those who wait until the last minute to file.

School board and council service can be a very trying ordeal, especially when difficult issues arise. But, although that's true, it is during these tough times that the community is most in need of dedicated board members. Take the step. File for office. And, remember, the deadline is 5 o'clock Monday afternoon.

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