Three individuals are running for two open positions on the Pratt City Commission this election. Doug Meyer, Jason Leslie and Nick Barker answered survey questions about their plans for city leadership.
Municipal elections are set to take place November 7 for the selection office-holders in local government, such as mayors, commissioners and school board members in Pratt County. While most positions on the ballot are unopposed, some smaller cities have competition for council or mayor positions.
In Pratt there is only one real race with more applicants than openings and that is for the city commission. There are four commission positions on the Pratt City board. Don Peters and Gary Schmidt were elected last fall and retain their seats for another year. Bill Hlavachick will retire and his position is open. Doug Meyer is in the race to bid for another term. Two additional incumbents have filed for the two open positions: Jason Leslie and Nick Barker.
The Pratt Tribune asked the three candidates for the two city commission positions to answer several questions. Their answers are shared here in order for the public to get to know them a bit better before casting votes on November 7, 2017.
1. What is your work and professional experience?
Doug Meyer: I have been a hospital pharmacist for 41 years, 22 years as the Director of Pharmacy at Western Plains Medical Complex in Dodge City, and 19 years as Director of Pharmacy at Pratt Regional Medical Center in Pratt. I retired from PRMC in 2016 but continue to maintain my license to practice pharmacy.
Jason Leslie: I attended and majored in accounting at Harding University in Search, AR from 1993-96; joined the Marine Corps Reserves in 1995 and Honorably Discharged as Sergeant in 2001; joined the Virginia Army National Guard in 2003 and Honorably Discharged in 2006; joined the Richmond City Police Department in VA in 1997 and worked there until 2010 as a police officer, corporal, and at times an acting Sergeant; served part-time as police lieutenant for the city of Andale from June 2013-March 2017, and as acting Chief of Police for a year and a half from August 2014 to February 2016; current business owner and agent with Shelter Insurance in Pratt since June 2015; trained in FEMA NIMS emergency city management.
Nick Barker: assistant manager at Blythe Family Fitness for six years.
2. What is your political experience?
Doug Meyer: I served on the Pratt Zoning and Planning Commission for four years, and have served as a Pratt City Commissioner for the past three years. I currently serve as the Vice-Mayor of Pratt.
Jason Leslie: I worked very closely on issues with the city mayor and city council while I was fulfilling a temporary vacancy as Acting Chief of Police for Andale. I also worked very closely with the community while I was a police officer in Richmond, VA, attending community meetings and exercising community policing.
Nick Barker: I strive to be an active listener to those in the community and their needs.
3. What is your community involvement?
Doug Meyer: past president of the High Plains Chapter of American Red Cross in Dodge City, past president of the Dodge City Optimist Club, past member of the Lion’s Club and the Elks Club in Dodge City, past chairman of the PPR committee at Pratt First United Methodist Church, member of Pratt Prevention Partnership Program, volunteer for the Pratt Food Bank and Friendship Meal delivery.
Jason Leslie: coordinator of the official non-profit organization “The Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Foundation” in Pratt County, in charge of charitable organization for children in Pratt County (dealing with $1,000s of donation dollars, active member with several voluntary community organizations, work with local teens through The Pratt Church of Christ outreach, currently serve on the Pratt Economic Development Board.
Nick Barker: fully support law enforcement professionals at city and county levels.
4. Why are you running for office?
Doug Meyer: I believe I have the time, commitment and experience to serve as an effective city commissioner. I can objectively listen to any and all citizen input when making educated decisions that affect the entire community. Pratt has incredible potential and the city’s managers and staff are outstanding. I would like to continue to be a part of the process of our growth and development while utilizing our tax dollars in a common sense and responsible manner. I would like for my grandchildren to grow and prosper in the Pratt that I grew up in, where quality of life is cherished. I am proud of the accomplishments the city commission has made in the past three years and I absolutely enjoy representing the city of Pratt.
Jason Leslie: I plan on bringing new blood into city management. I bring in new insights and a different sort of lens to look through. I have a diverse background with working and leading local communities and will have an unique look into our city as we move to grow prosper and unify the community with the goals of our city.
5. What priorities should be considered by the city at this time?
Doug Meyer: 1. Continued support of our fire and police departments with equipment and personnel necessary to keep our city safe; 2. Maintain the infrastructure of our obligatory municipal services with emphasis on acquiring a second feed tor our electrical supply and expanding economical alternative sources of power for the city, citizens and businesses; 3. Continue working relationship between the Pratt County Commission and Pratt City Commission to promote and expand area economic development.
Jason Leslie: 1. Make Pratt more affordable to live in by economic expansion and job growth; 2. Look at ways to help our community to grow and get our real estate filled with otherwise missed opportunities in economic growth and taxes; 3. Continue to make our community attractive for families to move to and raise their families.
Nick Barker: 1. Retain our current retail businesses; 2. Strive to attract and develop more business opportunities.