HUTCHINSON, Kan. – In addition to statewide races, mid-Kansas area voters made their voices heard in local races Tuesday, retaining area members of the Kansas House of Representatives and electing three new members to the Reno County Commission. Tax proposals in three communities were also approved.
State Representatives Jason Probst and Paul Waggoner of Hutchinson, Stephen Owens of Hesston and Brett Fairchild of St. John were returned to Topeka for new terms.
Probst retained his 102nd District seat, defeating John Whitesel in a rematch from the 2020 election. Probst, whose district includes generally the south side of Hutchinson, will remain the westernmost Democrat in the Kansas Legislature.
In another rematch of a 2020 race, Waggoner again defeated Garth Strand of Buhler in the 104th District. That district, in addition to the north side of Hutchinson, includes rural northeast Reno County, Buhler and Medora, and now includes the city of Inman and two townships in McPherson County.
Owens easily defeated Libertarian Henry Hein of Hillsboro to retain his 74th District seat. That district includes portions of Harvey, Marion and McPherson Counties including Halstead, Hesston, Hillsboro, and Moundridge along with the Canton area which was added in redistricting.
Fairchild had no difficulty holding off Jo Ann Roth of Ellinwood in the 113th District that saw major changes in redistricting. That district now includes all of Rice, Rush and Stafford counties and parts of Barton and Pawnee counties.
Reno County Commission
Randy Parks, Mark Reese and Don Bogner will join the Reno County Commission in January when it expands from three to five members as voters approved in 2020.
Parks, who will succeed Ron Sellers in the 1st District, easily held off a write-in challenge from Cris Corey, who lost the August Republican primary to Parks by two votes. The 1st District includes northwest Hutchinson, Nickerson, The Highlands and Willowbrook.
In the one ballot contested race Tuesday, Reese defeated Michael Jobe by a margin of 52-48 percent to win the new 4th District, which includes midtown Hutchinson.
Bogner had a large vote advantage after Penelope Poitrais, who ran for the seat in August, launched a write-in bid in the 5th District, which will include the Haven and Yoder areas and part of southeast Hutchinson.
Sales Tax Proposals
Voters in the city of Hutchinson overwhelmingly approved another five-year renewal of a quarter percent sales tax that is used for street maintenance and property tax relief. It also provides funding for the Cosmosphere and Strataca. This sales tax, renewed by a 2-1 margin, has been in place in some form or another since 1994.
In Arlington, voters also approved a sales tax proposal by an 80-55 margin. That money will be used for street and other infrastructure projects.
Newton Bond Issue
Newton USD 373 voters on Tuesday approved a bond issue that will fund repairs and renovations to historic Lindley Hall and the Santa Fe 5th/6th grade Center. The buildings on the northwest edge of downtown Newton were damaged in a summer windstorm.