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Stafford County candidates express views, goals, plans

Courtney Blankenship
St. John News
Dallas Woolf (left)and Todd Wycoff (right) have both filed for the position of Stafford County Commissioner District 2 in the coming August 4, 2020 election.

Editor’s Note: Contested race candidates in Stafford County were given a chance to respond to the same three questions in order to provide voter information for the coming August 4, 2020 primary. Votes may be cast early by mail before that time, or in person on the day of the election.

Stafford County Commissioner District 2

Dallas Woolf

Why did you decide to run for this position?

I was raised on a farm south of Macksville with strong family values. My educational career took my family and me away to different communities in Kansas, but it always felt good to be home in Stafford County. As an educator, I've always been drawn to social service endeavors, and I feel it's time to serve a county that has provided so much for my upbringing.

If you are elected, what goals do you hope to accomplish while in office?

My goals for Stafford County will be to continue to provide opportunities for growth as a county while keeping a strong financial record for our future. I'm proud of our county and the opportunities it currently provides, but there is always room for continued growth. Visiting with voters has given me a sense of pride in the communities whether it be in agriculture, county services, education, or small businesses. I would like to keep our small-town values while looking to the future for Stafford County.

What do you want voters to know about you as a candidate?

I want to serve patrons of my district. The County of Stafford is where I was raised and now my wife Kim and I are proud to say we have raised our boys in a great community. I believe in family values and a strong work ethic. I will be trustworthy, loyal, and work hard for the people of District 2 in Stafford County.

Todd Wycoff

Why did you decide to run for this position?

I feel committed to do what I can to help in the community. Being a farmer, business owner/operator, and a family man gives me a broad base of knowledge to bring to the commissioners and I am not afraid to ask the hard questions or voice my opinions.

If you are elected, what goals do you hope to accomplish while in office?

If reelected, I will make it my goal to see that taxpayers' money is spent wisely while making the necessary cuts to the budget without taking away from the important services that the county provides. I also think it is important that our county has a business friendly environment. I will work hard to achieve these goals.

What do you want voters to know about you as a candidate?

I am a lifelong resident of Stafford County and have been successfully farming for 32 years. I have been a business owner and operator outside of farming for 20 years, and I served as Douglas Township Treasurer for 12 years. I try to remain open minded and gather all relevant information of a situation before forming an opinion. I think it is important on a 3 person board to have active discussions and get everyone's opinions before coming to a decision. I also think it is important to listen to the department heads and value their experience and knowledge. I have enjoyed being a commissioner. It has been a very educational and informative experience. I would like to continue serving Stafford County and would appreciate your vote in the primary election.

Stafford County Commissioner District 3

Tyler Axman

Why did you decide to run for this position?

When my family moved back to Stafford County in 2013, my wife and I knew we wanted to make this our home long term and raise our children here. I knew being active in the community was important and began exploring various boards, offices, and organizations to get involved with. I realized that serving at the county level was an opportunity I wanted to work towards. I have family in Seward and Hudson, I reside in St. John, and I work in Stafford. I felt that I could be a bridge between the communities in Stafford County and decided to run for County Commissioner.

If you are elected, what goals do you hope to accomplish while in office?

If elected, I have a commitment to the growth of Stafford County and would set goals related to increased business opportunities. A recent survey of county residents conducted by Stafford County Economic Development found that the top two concerns related to the future of Stafford County were a lack of business and lack of jobs. Recently, County Commissioners have engaged in a study looking at locations in our county for a possible rail or grain storage facility. I would continue to support these initiatives, and we can always continue to look further. Stafford County is an agricultural community. My goal would be to examine what areas of the agricultural industry Stafford County is lacking in and access the feasibility of bringing these services to our area. For example, due to COVID-19, a backlog in the meat processing industry hit many local farmers. Would a small meat packing plant be successful in our county? I would work to engage in these discussions with residents with the goal of promoting job creation.

Population decline and decreased tax base was ranked third by respondents on the list of concerns in the recent survey. According to U.S. Census Bureau estimates, Stafford County has had a 6.4% population decline since 2010. Since 2000, our county on average has torn down 13 houses per year while building 2.6. With a loss in homes and population comes a loss in tax revenue and increased difficulty providing essential county services. I believe it is important for County officials to collaborate with our local city governments to work together on housing initiatives to attract new residents and help slow population decline.

Finally, being fiscally responsible is imperative to success in rural Kansas. If elected, I would plan to meet individually with department heads to understand their budgets, equipment needs, and future goals for serving our residents. With the recent economic recession, it will be important to plan for necessary upgrades in advance when possible. My goal would be to look at the projected needs of county departments over the next several years to help ensure Stafford County continues to provide excellent essential services within our available budget.

What do you want voters to know about you as a candidate?

For those who don’t know me, I live in St. John with my wife Taci, who is a pre-school teacher, and our three children. I am a Physical Therapist and the Director of Rehabilitation at Stafford County Hospital. When I think of serving as a County Commissioner, I believe my career has prepared me well to become a public servant. As a physical therapist, I perform an examination, develop a plan, and adjust that plan based on the patients input and response. Ultimately, I view the job of County Commissioner in a similar sense. I will strive to examine what needs our county has, set benchmarks, and strategically plan to meet these goals. I will prioritize being approachable and available to listen to the opinions of county residents to guide me in my decision making. I feel the most important quality of any elected individual is the ability to be a good listener. Every day, I listen to my patients concerns and work to help them improve. I am excited for the opportunity to serve Stafford County and I would appreciate your vote on August 4th.

Bryce Garner

Why did you decide to run for this position?

I decided to run for District 3 County Commissioner because I see the need for a strong willed, young leader to step up and help guide our County. I am blessed to have a flexible work schedule that will allow me to dedicate the time and efforts necessary to help serve our communities. This is important because the position of County Commissioner is more than just meeting weekly; It requires research, collaborating with department heads, and listening to the taxpayer’s needs.

If you are elected, what goals do you hope to accomplish while in office?

After having attended nearly all the County Commission meetings since January 1, 2020 I am well versed on all current matters. One of our main challenges we face in the short term is the County Property Valuation being reduced by 5.2 million dollars due to the oil market collapse. One of my goals as a Commissioner would be to maintain the departments and the services that we have, but also remain diligent to fiscal responsibility. As a Commissioner, I will put forth my best effort to trim expenses yet still provide the services that our taxpayers expect and deserve. Additionally, I aim to help facilitate discussions between township boards to consider possible solutions to better serve the taxpayers in the townships. I believe as a Commissioner, I can help bring these ideas to the table and help find solutions to some of the issues.

What do you want voters to know about you as a candidate?

As a Fifth Generation Stafford County Resident I am passionate about the growth and success of this county. My wife Janae and I have invested in Stafford County with our businesses, and we consider this the perfect place to raise our young family. I hold a bachelor’s degree from McPherson College in Business Administration. I currently serve on the Ohio Township Board. We raise cattle and produce oil in this county and I along with all my constituency are directly affected by the well-being of our county. I feel the need to serve my community and help facilitate an environment that is conducive for business, growth and prosperity. Only with efforts such as these, will the next generation have something worth continuing. I encourage anyone to call and visit with me about my campaign at 620-549-3489 or E-Mail at garner4sfco@gmail.com

Doris Tompkins

Why did you decide to run for this position?

I am passionate about Stafford County's future and I am running because I would endeavor

to ensure the services provided to the taxpayers are provided efficiently. That includes, roads, land use, emergency services (Fire, EMS, and Law Enforcement.)

If you are elected, what goals do you hope to accomplish while in office?

Develop shared vision for collaboration & teamwork among county departments by having comprehensive long term and short term goals to achieve a good balance utilizing sound fiscal management.. While still at public health, i conducted a community health assessment. The #1 concern of the assessment was access to primary care. In that vein, I would like to collaborate and explore with local health experts ways to improve access to primary care. Basically, I just want to serve Stafford County, to address issues as they arise, to set policy that is sensible and make decisions after all the information is received that is in the best interest of my constituents and the county.

What do you want voters to know about you as a candidate?

I have multiple and career long positions in health and medical services in Stafford County.

I believe my experience in being director the public health for 19 years, and my 20 years of service in EMS qualify me to serve with experience and integrity and to be a competent public servant.

Stafford County Sheriff

Robert Murrow

(did not respond for comment)

Aaron Rudy

Why did you decide to run for this position?

I believe new leadership would strengthen our county. To achieve this, we need to build strong and trusting relationships with the various police departments in our communities as well as the citizens of Stafford County. We also need to increase presence in those communities that do not have police services.

If you are elected, what goals do you hope to accomplish while in office?

I would like to streamline operations to ensure the best possible service to the county. It is my hope to build a culture of professionalism and trust between the city and county police departments and those whom we serve.

What do you want voters to know about you as a candidate?

I began my Law Enforcement career with the Kansas Department of Corrections, serving 5 years. I was then given the opportunity to serve the citizens of St John as a police officer. In the course of my 12 years of service, I achieved a Firearms Instructor Certification from the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center. I have acquired leadership management by attending the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Academy. I am invested in Stafford County. I want to see positive changes within the county for the safety and well being of our citizens. If given the opportunity, I would be honored to serve the citizens of Stafford County.