Tom Wenrich was born and raised in Pratt and can’t think of anywhere he would rather live — except possibly the Bahamas. He is seeking a leadership role in the county, as a Democratic candidate for the First District seat on the Pratt County Commission.


Tom Wenrich was born and raised in Pratt and can’t think of anywhere he would rather live — except possibly the Bahamas. He is seeking a leadership role in the county, as a Democratic candidate for the First District seat on the Pratt County Commission.

Wenrich is employed by Hamm Auction and Real Estate. He is married to Sherry, who holds a county elected office as Register of Deeds. They have two children, Lori, a certified public accountant in Norman, Okla., and Brian, a graduate student in economics at Kansas State University.

If elected, Wenrich sees no conflict with his wife’s job. She is governed by state statutes, he said, and her main interaction with commissioners deals with budget issues. Budgets are not adopted individually; they’re approved as a group. If a matter came up directly concerning the Register of Deeds office, Wenrich would excuse himself from voting.

He is seeking the county position because friends encouraged him to run and said he would do a good job. He would not come to the governing body with his mind made up about issues, but “would be like a sponge; absorb everything and make decisions that are best for the citizens.”

He did say he opposes tax increases that put a burden on citizens, especially a fairly large percentage of county residents who are on fixed incomes. Regarding a proposal by Pratt Regional Medical Center leadership to build a new hospital, Wenrich said, “the last vote made it pretty clear the people don’t want another tax to build a new hospital. Majority rules. If somebody can convince me different, I’m going to listen.”

He praised the county’s great EMS system and said all county departments do a great job.

There is, however, a need to “keep track of spending,” he said, and priorities need to be set.

His vision for the county includes growth that would give young people a reason to come back to the county and raise their families. County and city government need to work together to foster growth.

“I think we need to put our ideas together and see what we can come up with,” he said, promising to listen and ask people, “what do you want done?”