Candidates file for open positions on area city, county and school boards

Billie Blair
Pratt Tribune
Pratt County sunflowers applaud local people who step up to public service on various boards.

The people of Pratt County will have opportunity to vote for several candidates who have filed for public service in the next regular election be held for both city and district school board positions, as well as for the Pratt Community College (PCC) Trustees on November 2, 2021, according to Lori Voss, Pratt County Clerk. A primary election will be held August 3, 2021, only if a sufficient number of candidates file for any one position. The filing deadline was noon, June 1, 2021.

Prattan Dwane DeWeese, who has served two consecutive four year terms on the Board of Trustees at Pratt Community College, said that filing for a board position is an important choice for an individual to make. Despite battling health concerns, he has again agreed to place his name on the ballot as an example of civic duty.

DeWeese began his career and affilication with PCC in the fall of 1969, teaching both automotive and diesel technology for 40 years.

“We started the auto program in a spare building on campus and had to hang lights in the building before we could start class," he said. “I kept on teaching because I would start with a freshman class, then as they prepared for their next year, I believed no one could teach them better than me, so I would teach the sophomore class, as well. I did that year after year.”

DeWeese said he has heard from many of his former students over the years. After retirement, he enjoyed staying involved with the college. He found he could do that best through the PCC Board of Trustees.

“I want to see the college grow and be an asset to the community.”

He admitted that board members had looked around for someone else to run, in part, because DeWeese had some physical issues this past year. When no interested party was found, DeWeese, the current Trustee Chair, filed for the position on the very last day possible.

There are seven positions on the board with three open this year. Michael S. Koler, the current Vice Chair, filed to run again, leaving one of the three positions open for possible write-in votes on election day. Other Trustee members include Michele Hamm, Kim DeClue, Stan Reimer, Jeff Shumway, and Ed Barrett.

At Pratt USD 382, a total of seven members serve on the Board of Education. Current members are Bill Bergner (President), Donna Hoerner-Queal (Vice-President), Jeremy Demuth, Chris Drake, Michelle Ferbert, Mark Fincham, and Jennifer Hopkins. The president and vice-president are elected from within the board. Board members serve four year terms with an election every two years. Four new members are elected in the even years and three are elected in the odd years. Those who filed for the three open positions in 2021 include Timothy C. Barker, Donna Hoener-Queal, and Bill Bergner. Queal was first elected to the board in 2017 and Bergner has served since 2009.

The Board of Education for USD 438 (Skyline) also has seven total members who serve four year terms with no limit on the number of terms one can serve. Current board members include Rex Robinson (President), Nicole Curtis, Jerry DeWeese, David McComb, Jeff Slade and Allen Smith. Rick Shriver had served as the Vice President until he was elected county commissioner. Mark L. Graber was appointed to finish Shriver’s term which expires this year. There are three positions to be filled in the upcoming election. Graber and Dustin Coats have filed as candidates.

The Pratt City commission consists of five elected members with each member elected to a three year term. The commission recently voted to limit terms to three three-year terms. When that limit is reached, a person must set out a minimum of one year before running for commissioner again. Terms expire in alternating years with one opening one year, then two are open the next year, and two the next. This is the year with one available opening. Zach A. Deeds has filed as a candidate for his second term. Other current commissioners are Gary Schmidt (Mayor), Don Peters (Vice-Mayor), Kyle Farmer, and Jeanette Siemens. The chairperson and vice-chair of the commission are elected from within the commission and hold the titles of mayor and vice-mayor for one year.

Matt Phye has registered to run for Mayor in the City of Byers, while four people have filed for the five city council positions open. These include Donna Uribe, Kyle D. Waters, Jaime L. Ackerman, and Amelia A. Ballantine.

For the City of Coats, Kyle Franklin filed for the position of Mayor. The city council has five openings. Curtis Haste, Terri Haack, Jeffrey Dale Shafer, Patricia Ward, and Matthew R. Ward will be on the ballot in the Fall.

Records show that Russell “Rusty” Owens is on the docket to run for mayor in the City of Cullison. Those filing for the five council seats are Greg Patrick. Bobby Booi, Jeremy Cota, and Keith Loveless, leaving one open spot.

Marsha A. Giggy is running for mayor in the City of Iuka. There are five positons open in town with seven people registering, including Gerald L. Tucker, Keith R. Backman, Warren Briggeman, Robert D. Hall, Luke M. George, Nicholas Barker, and Nathan Hemphill.

The City of Preston has one person, Dr. Kenneth A. Stanton, running for Mayor. There are two open Council positions with three people, Mike Schmidt, John McCune, Yvonne Mercer vying for them.

And, finally, in the City of Sawyer, no one has filed to run for mayor and one person, Randy Kumberg, filed for a Council position. Sawyer has five open council seats, plus one open, unexpired seat.

Of all the candidates listed above, the new candidates, those who have not run for these offices before, are Timothy Barker in USD 382, and Mark Graber and Dustin Eubank with USD 438.