Voters in the new 4th District of the Leavenworth County Commission will go to the polls Tuesday for a special election to select their commissioner.

Voters in the new 4th District of the Leavenworth County Commission will go to the polls Tuesday for a special election to select their commissioner. The 4th District was created as part of the expansion of the County Commission, which was approved by voters last year. The 4th District comprises the city of Lansing, a southeast portion of Leavenworth and Delaware Township. The candidates are Chad Schimke, rural Leavenworth, Troy Smith, Leavenworth, and Hank Spellman, Lansing. The Leavenworth Times submitted the same questions to each candidate and here are their answers.


Chad R. Schimke

Age: 35

Party affiliation: Republican

Occupation: Business owner

Political experience: Corporate America and charitable board member


Troy Smith

Age: 32

Party affiliation: Democrat

Occupation: Real estate agent: Collins-Cook Realty

Political experience: Not provided


Hank Spellman

Age: 68

Party affiliation: Unaffiliated

Occupation: Retired

Political experience: None


1. Why are you running for the County Commission?

Schimke: Like many others in our community, I am ready for change. I believe that my diverse background in business and management gives me the tools necessary to succeed as a county commissioner. We need to work closer with the cities we serve. As a team, I look forward to working with current and future department leaders for ideas and recommendations to build the right strategy. We have to work together rather than compete with one another in order to be successful.

Smith: I am from Leavenworth County, born and raised, and have made many very special memories here. Now that I am back home following my naval service, I want to be a part of the future here. My objective is to strengthen the county administration.

Spellman: I worked for the Leavenworth County Sheriff’s Office for about 25 years before moving on to a job at the airport in food and beverage management. I am now retired and have plenty of time to give to this position. I’ve lived in this county my entire life and would like to give back with my time and energy.


2. What are the most important issues facing the county?

Schimke: Economic stimulus is required to financially support new programs (roads, public transit, health and wellness, recreation, etc.). Improve infrastructure. In expanding our economic development, we must have infrastructure in place to support it. Promote collaboration. We must have better communication between the county and cities within. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with and help build companies across the country, and believe it is my experience with the greater Kansas City area that will have the biggest impact.

Smith: With the increasing number of lawsuits due to mismanagement of contracts at the cost to us, the taxpayers, in the approximate amount $1.6 million to 1.8 million, I want to bring forth true administrative integrity and transparency. I want to see more efficient service, greater opportunities for younger generations to attract more people to make our county their home and more diversity in relation to new mindsets and ideas that foster our greatest asset around the county and that is the people.

Spellman: Economic development is essential for a thriving county. We need financial input from existing businesses and the promotion of new businesses to expand our economy and support new programs. An up-to-date comprehensive plan for the county will support the infrastructure needed to attract new business. Open communication with citizens and collaboration among the various organizations in the county will help us build the element of trust. Professional behavior in meetings and in relations with the public is essential.


3. What issues do you feel are unique or important to the 4th District?

Schimke: I believe the issues facing the county and the 4th District are aligned. Each city in our county has its own set of challenges. Lansing is no different. If we can improve the three initiatives in my platform above, there are no challenges we as a community cannot overcome.

Smith: Currently, one of the most unique issues in the 4th District is our fire district as this relates to public safety. I am the son of a former local fire chief and my parents still reside in the district. I want to support a resolution that protects the citizens above all else. We are stronger together rather than divided. Lets make Leavenworth County the best place in the state of Kansas to live, work and raise a family.

Spellman: Of course, the fire district issue is unique to the 4th District. Once the issue is out of the courts, the commission must study and research the facts and come up with a solution that will be to the benefit of the district and county. Road conditions in the county continue to be a sore subject. This winter has especially been hard on the roads. The commission needs to address this issue because the public expects improvement.

– John Richmeier