Five file for three seats in upcoming city election

1/23/2013

Unruh, Starr, Doll join Law and Dale on city ballot.

Unruh, Starr, Doll join Law and Dale on city ballot.

BY SCOTT AUST

saust@gctelegram.com

Five people made Tuesday's noon deadline to run for the Garden City Commission in April, including incumbents Chris Law and Melvin Dale, along with Troy Unruh, Harold Starr and Janet Doll.

On April 2, city voters will elect three of the five to serve on the city commission.

The commission consists of five members, all of whom are elected at large. Three commission seats are up for election in odd numbered years. The candidates with the two highest vote totals are elected to four-year terms, while the third highest vote getter is elected to a two-year term.

Elected to a two-year term in 2011, Law said he decided to run again due to a desire to serve the public. He said he learned a lot during the past two years and wants to continue working on reasonable growth for the city and finding the best solution to whatever issues come up.

"You spend the first couple of years really getting the hang of it," he said. "There have been some difficult issues, but I really learned a lot about the process, especially the budget. That's probably the most time consuming and single biggest thing we do each year."

Dale, 71, was appointed by the commission Jan. 8 to fill the remaining term of John Doll, who was elected in November to the state legislature. When applying for the job, Dale cited an interest in public service and politics and said he looked forward to helping the community grow and contributing to the dialogue.

Dale worked for the Garden City Police Department in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and was a fire investigator for the state of Kansas for 21 years, covering southwest Kansas.

"So far it's been going real good," he said. "I hope I can give support to the other four commissioners and we can achieve the goals set for the city."

Doll, the wife of former commissioner and current state representative John Doll, said she decided to run for the commission due to her service on various boards and commissions in the city.

"And of course, hearing John speak about projects and things going on in the city played a part in that," she said. "I'm just very excited about what's happening in our city and the potential growth."

Doll, 54, owns Janet Doll Goldsmith in downtown Garden City that offers custom designed jewelry.

When asked if John gave her any tips, Doll laughed.

"I think probably he would say, 'Follow your heart,'" she said.

Starr, 71, a retired teacher who taught industrial arts for many years in the Holcomb and Ingalls school districts, has never been elected to a local office, though he did run unsuccessfully for the Finney County Commission several years ago. He also applied for John Doll's seat.

Starr said others urged him to run for the city commission.

"I'm fulfilling their desire so they have input as far as things said and done at the city meetings," he said. "There's a variety of things (people think are important). It depends on which ones you talk with. It has to be a group decision with me and the other commissioners. It's not a one-man show."

Unruh, an insurance agency partner, could not be reached for comment but said during the Jan. 8 city commission meeting to appoint John Doll's replacement that he was excited about the opportunity to run and looked forward to great things for the community.

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