A newcomer to the Abilene political scene was elected to the Abilene City Commission in the Nov. 5 General Election.
Brandon Rein of Abilene received 782 votes, earning him a four-year term on the Abilene City Commission. Incumbent Dee Marshall had 568 votes, also receiving a four-year term, while incumbent Timothy B. Shafer received 528 votes for a two-year term. Phil Hamilton had 415 votes, while William Hane received 178.
"It has always been a dream and goal of mine to be able to give back to the city that built me into the person I am today,” Rein said late Tuesday on Facebook. “Growing up here taught me the value of hard work, respect, humility, and a vast list of countless others.
“The outpouring of love and support has been humbling and I can’t begin to express just how much it has meant to me. I look forward to serving you as your next city commissioner and working to make Abilene the best it can be.”
In the race for Abilene USD 435 school board, there was only one contested race. For the At Large, Position 7 seat, incumbent Randy Gassman was re-elected with 894 votes, to the 354 received by challenger Amy Meysenburg.
The other three open seats on the Abilene school board were not contested. Vying for District 1, Position 1, Veronica Murray received 1,056 votes; for District 2, Position 2, Robert G. Keener received 1,041 votes and Incumbent Jennifer Waite received 1,103 votes for the District 3, Position 3 seat.
Waite previously held the District 1, Position 1 seat but moved into a new district. Longtime board members Gregg Noel and Mark Wilson did not seek reelection.
The three incumbents serving on the Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees in Abilene all retained their seats. Re-elected were retired physicians J. Steven Schwarting with 1,489 votes and Dennis Biggs with 1,364, while long-serving board member Mildred Fink had 1,139 votes. Challenger John Hultgren received 762 votes.
Dickinson County residents voted to continue the one-half percent sales tax used exclusively to fund road and bridge projects with 1,616 voting yes, to 1,117 voting no. First approved by voters in April 2014, the funding approved Tuesday is for a period of 10 years.
Dickinson County residents also voted yes on the Constitutional amendment to remove the census adjustment. The adjustment requires the Secretary of State’s office to contact every college student and member of the military residing in Kansas to determine their official residence. On that question, 1,466 county voters said yes, while 1,107 said no.
While Dickinson County voters approved removing the census adjustment the statewide result was not yet known Tuesday night.
Turnout higher than expected
Dickinson County Clerk/Election Officer Barb Jones said voter turnout in Dickinson County was “kind of a surprise” coming in at approximately 22 percent, which is higher than normal for most city/school/hospital board elections.
“Typically they are in the 15, 10 or 12 percent turnout range,” Jones said.
Results of races countywide were posted on the county’s website at www.dkcoks.org before 9:30 p.m. Tuesday night, making it one of the earliest election nights ever for Jones’ staff and workers.
However, the counting board was still busy at that time tallying a huge number of write-ins for the Hope school board (Rural Vista USD 481) and Hope City Council.
“Nobody filed for school board in Hope and only one person filed for city council (two positions are open) so the counting board is still counting write-ins,” Jones said.
Final tallies of the write-ins and all other races are not official until the election is canvassed by Dickinson County Commissioners. The canvass is scheduled for 9 a.m. Friday, Nov. 15 in the County Commission room at the Dickinson County Courthouse.
Contact Kathy Hageman at email@example.com.