Election City government candidate profiles for Nov. 5 election

City government candidate profiles for Nov. 5 election


In preparation for the Nov. 5 election, The Osage County Herald-Chronicle mailed a questionnaire to all candidates and asked them to submit brief responses and photos. Information for city government candidates of contested elections is provided in the Oct. 31 print edition of The Herald-Chronicle while the profiles for all candidates may be found in this post.
Profiles for school board election candidates were published in the Oct. 24 edition of The Herald-Chronicle and they may also be found on our website.
The following questions were asked: What makes you a good candidate for this position? What would you like to accomplish during your term, if elected? What do you see as the top issues, specific to your school or city? Please provide brief personal information such as family info., education, community involvement, etc.

In preparation for the Nov. 5 election, The Osage County Herald-Chronicle mailed a questionnaire to all candidates and asked them to submit brief responses and photos. Information for city government candidates of contested elections is provided in the Oct. 31 print edition of The Herald-Chronicle while the profiles for all candidates may be found in this post.
Profiles for school board election candidates were published in the Oct. 24 edition of The Herald-Chronicle and they may also be found on our website.
The following questions were asked: What makes you a good candidate for this position? What would you like to accomplish during your term, if elected? What do you see as the top issues, specific to your school or city? Please provide brief personal information such as family info., education, community involvement, etc.




Amanda Kohlman
Burlingame City Council


The best reason I have for running for City Council is my love for this town and community. I have lived in many different states across the country, but there is nowhere I would rather live and raise my family than Burlingame. I only want success for the city, its residents and its visitors. I have been actively involved and serving the community for many years. I currently serve as an officer for the Burlingame Chamber of Commerce. I have helped plan and volunteer many events in the community such as Rodeo Days, Country Christmas, Community Dinners, Redneck Days and the Downhill Derby. You can usually find me willing to give my time and skills to the community in any capacity needed.
My biggest accomplishment will be representing the community members and fighting for what they want and need. Our residents do not need to be told what is good for them, I want their opinions to matter. As a former downtown business owner, I want to see our downtown revitalized and give our residents and visitors a reason to want to visit our downtown. I also would like to bring in additional housing and housing development. This would not only be beneficial for our local families who are looking for homes to grow into, but also bring in opportunity for new residents and even a place for our young people to stick around and make a home of their own.
My top issues are reasonable taxes and fees to our residents; downtown and residential growth; community safety and crime; quality of life.
I have been a resident in the Burlingame community for almost nine years, two of those years inside the city limits. My husband Ryan, who currently works full time for the Air Force, and I have two children, Logan, 7th grade and Robyn, 2nd grade. I am the Director of Continuing Legal Education for the Kansas Bar Association where I oversee several departments, but mostly the planning and executing of CLE across the state. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and marketing from Pittsburg State University in 2004, and later went back to PSU in 2010 for a master’s degree in human resources. I currently serve as the elected secretary for the Burlingame Chamber of Commerce.




Sheila Curtis
Burlingame City Council


I have lived in or near Burlingame my whole life and care about the survival of our town. I was fortunate enough to work with the other members of the city council to bring in the Dollar General store. I now have four years of experience on the council and still hope to see many projects completed in the next four years.
I would like to see concrete steps taken toward either a renovation of the current swimming pool (46 years old) or a new one built. The pool is vital to our community, from babies to seniors. Of course, it will cost a lot of money so everyone will have to work together to see this happen, and it won’t happen in the next four years, unfortunately, but we can still begin to work on this. I also want to see continued improvements made to our parks, especially Jones Park, with a better restroom facility. We also must attract more businesses to our town, which will attract more families to settle here. Everything is connected to make our town the best place to live.
Ongoing issues are always maintenance of streets and now alleys that received so much damage because of weather conditions. Another issue is vacant buildings and homes. If you own a building or a house, keep it in stable condition. When that doesn’t happen, it affects the look of the town and neighbors next door. Lastly, doing what needs to be done and then some, all while staying on a budget. That is the bottom line for me.
I am married to Mike Curtis, a retired sheet metal worker, and I am a retired high school teacher. We have three daughters, two sons-in-law, six grandchildren and one great-granddaughter. I graduated from Burlingame High School and Emporia State University. I am one of the founding members of the Burlingame Historical Society, which created the Schuyler Museum. I have also served on the library board and city council.




Leslie Holman
Burlingame City Council



I have served four years for the City of Burlingame so far and I understand the innerworkings of the city government. I have been instrumental in bringing businesses to town and making our municipal service pay competitive to surrounding communities.
For this term, I would like to build a business incubator and bring more businesses to Burlingame. I am also working to build modern housing within the city limits to boost the population, and I would like to continue in the work that is already in queue.
The two main issues I see are the lack of citizens and the lack of business. I believe the two go hand in hand. If you aren’t growing in population, then there is no one to support business or start new business. If there are no businesses, it is very difficult to draw people to your community. That’s where support from the city council is necessary. Making incentives for new businesses to move in and for new citizens to move in is one way the council can support growth in the economy of Burlingame.
I am a dad to two children, a boy (11) and a girl (8). My children are my biggest reason for doing most of the things I do. Setting a good example for them and teaching them to be involved in the community is my main motivation. I am currently working on a Bachelor’s in Business Administration and will graduate in the fall of 2020. I am also the president of the Burlingame Chamber of Commerce. I am employed with the MCP Group where I am a construction superintendent.




Steve Morrison
Lyndon Mayor



I have 3 1/2 years of experience on the council with over 2 ½ years as the current mayor. I am a long-standing member of the community and have no plans to move. I care about the community and future of our town. I have been active in finding ways to reduce operating expenses and will continue to seek new opportunities.
During the next term, I would like to put in place a proactive water line replacement plan where city employees will replace water lines block by block, year after year in an effort to eliminate the need of a costly water project. In addition, we have an opportunity to move the community center out of the flood plain with the assistance of FEMA.
As with any town, the basic functions need to be maintained with utilities, streets and public safety. These have been and will continue to be the top issues during my tenure.
I am married to Trisha Morrison, father to four children, two of which are 21 years old, another age 19, and the youngest is 14 years old. I am active with supporting youth sports both at the school and with the rec. I have been a member of the Jones Trust Committee for Jones Park and Sports Complex in Lyndon. I volunteer with helping the Lyndon Pride with events and have been a member of the Sideliners, raising money for high school athletics.



Gene Hirt
Lyndon Mayor


My experience working in Franklin County for 17 years in public concerns on roads as well as helping taxpayers get what they expect in paying taxes in that county make me a good candidate. I have experience in concrete work as the streets here are suffering from wrong methods by the city. I also have experience in preparing budgets for the government.
Residents indicate to me the water rates are too high. I would work on reducing them to a much more feasible rate like other cities in the county, also by writing grants to help reduce rates. We need a major grocery store here between Melvern and Pomona lakes, which I’m presently working on getting by the roundabout north of town. I would like to improve the streets, as Ash Street needs major repairs. I would bring all the representatives at City Hall together as one to get things done. All streets need to be addressed by officials, including the ones by our schools.
Schools need proper streets for the safety of students walking to school at all times. The sidewalks the students come to school on need to be safe through town. The city needs to prepare a budget that will enhance growth for businesses to come to this city; unfortunately, right now it does not. Grants are available for this. I know how to write grants. Also, I will have an open door to everyone. When you come to a council meeting, you will be allowed to get your concerns heard; there will be no set time limit to get your issue presented to the city.
I was born on Feb. 9, 1959, in Garnett. I lived on a farm all my school years until I went to college in 1967. I have four brothers and one sister, all alive today. My parents are not with us now and are buried at Emerald Catholic Church, south of Williamsburg. I am not married and have lived here in Lyndon going on three years. I’m retired from work and worked at a government facility in Kansas City, Mo. When I got my associate’s degree in Des Moines, Iowa, I was an electronic technician. When I hired on at the government facility in 1969, I also had a business in Ottawa for 10 years, an electric store and installing satellite TV systems.




Lynn Atchison
City Council


I grew up in Lyndon and remember what Lyndon once was. I am very social and enjoy visiting with the citizens of Lyndon, quizzing them about our city government and what they would like to see in Lyndon’s future. I have been a public servant in the city of Gardner for the past 30 years and can bring those leadership skills and experience to Lyndon. I currently own properties in Lyndon and plan to retire here.
I will ask for feedback from our citizens regarding what it will take to get the community excited to call Lyndon their home. It seems there is a lack of community involvement and I will do my best to improve that. One of my goals is to see our codes enforcement improve, which will in turn improve the overall appearance of our community. I would like to be involved in the guidance of our police department.
The lack of small businesses in the downtown area. I have been attending the Lyndon City Council meetings for several months and there has been little to no conversation regarding community events or plans to grow the business district. I feel the City Council and Mayor should have more involvement in the community and should be accessible to our citizens. There is no contact information for the existing council members on the City’s website. I make it a habit to ask citizens that I am visiting with if they know who our council members or Mayor are, and I am surprised to learn that most that I ask do not.
I grew up in Lyndon and was a member of the class of 1985. My mother still resides in Lyndon in the family home. I have a girlfriend of two years, a 25-year-old daughter and two grandsons. I have been a police officer for over 27 years and am currently a patrol sergeant in the city of Gardner. I plan to retire in the next few years. I was a School Resource Officer for four school years and have filled many roles within the public safety field, to include being an active firefighter for 22 years. I am a member of the Chapter 19 American Legion Riders in Gardner and was the director for four years. During my tenure as the director, the group grew from 36 members to 84 members.


Osage City



Cathryn Houghton
City Council, Ward 3


I have a fierce love for and am proud to have called Osage City my home my entire life. I am open to listen and learn. I aim to make decisions by listening to facts, trusting the advice of city staff, using commonsense, coupled with following local, state, federal requirements/guidelines/mandates.
I will continue the professional and progressive legacy of the most recent council and our early forefathers. I will support the city staff as they carry out the wide variety of projects and tasks necessary to manage and towards making Osage City an attractive, inviting little city.
Try as I may, I can’t do this in a nutshell. The city staff and employees do an amazing job in providing top notch service to our citizens & businesses, while taking measures to keep costs in line and following and enforcing all mandates and ordinances pertaining to the city. It is very important to maintain and support these efforts and to continue addressing drainage and street improvement while overseeing the budget, utilizing financing and planning options.
I am a life-long resident of Osage City. My relatives and family are in our sixth generation in Osage City. I am a graduate of OCHS and 38-year employee of the State of Kansas. After retiring from the state, I was fortunate to be the Executive Director to the Osage City Chamber of Commerce from October 2009 to October 2012. I served two previous terms on the council. I am a 35-year auxiliary member, Fraternal Order of Eagles #3890, Osage City. I’m also a 15-year auxiliary member, Post 400 American Legion, Topeka and current member of the Osage County Advisory Board to the Economic Development Corporation. I have also served on the Osage County Council on Aging. Finally, I have had a real estate license since 1981. 



Dale Schwieger
City Council, Ward 4


My wife and I have lived here in Osage City for over 20 years and raised two kids, James and Alexandra. I would like to see Osage City continue to improve and work to draw young families to town as a result of the changes we are making.
I don’t have a agenda on anyone issue, but if we want to continue to draw new families to town we must work together as a team, city council and city staff to make improvements.
An issue that is ongoing for every city is to improve the city’s infrastructure, streets, sewer, etc, and not only improving these items, but we need to work with the public, asking everyone to help by keeping neighborhoods clean and safe.
I have been married to Karen Schwieger for 30 years. I graduated from Kansas State in 1997 with a bachelor’s degree. I work as Park Manager at Eisenhower and Pomona State Parks for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. 




Fred Sweetwood
Quenemo City Council


While I was working for Walmart, I was able to get several thousand-dollar grants for the school here in town. I have watched this town go downhill and it is time to turn that around and start bringing this town back. My wife and I bought a modular home 15 years ago and were questioned by several people as to why we would set it in Quenemo. I grew up here and have spent most of my life here. I can see great things happening in Quenemo if we can just turn it around and get everyone involved.
If elected, these will be fun times. We will have a new mayor and two new councilmembers. I look forward to joining the city council and I look forward to doing away with the “good ol’ boy” clubs. The decisions made by the council should be for the whole city of Quenemo – not for one person or group, but the whole town. Our population has dwindled to below 300. We all need to get involved to improve our town. I will work with the mayor and other councilmembers to remove the old structures in town. They are an eyesore and need to be gone. By cleaning up our town, we may be able to get people to move in and settle in Quenemo.
Drainage, old structures and city employees are issues. I have a plan to work on Eighth and Seventh streets, to divert that water around the main part of town. If we can turn the water off those streets, the drainage from Sixth on down would greatly improve. We must get rid of the old structures. They are unsafe eyesores and lowering the value of our town. No one wants to move into Quenemo and live beside them. Our city has invested a lot of money in our maintenance man, who has worked very hard updating the records and bringing our codes and ordinances up to date in order to meet state requirements. If we do not stay current with state regulations, the state will take over our water and sewer systems. This could result in higher bills for our residents.
I have been married to my wife for 42 years. We have two children, Scott and Melissa, and five grandchildren. I attended school in Quenemo through my junior year. My senior year, I attended Prairie View High School and graduated in 1974. I was a trucker buddy (pen pal) to the fifth grade class in Quenemo for 12 years. I am a member of the PRIDE group and I am on the Quenemo Fire Department. Hopefully, I will be a member of the city council as well. I attend church regularly. 



John Wilson
Quenemo City Council


I have lived in Quenemo for over 20 years. I own multiple properties in the city limits. I have many friends and family that live here. People feel they can come to me for advice. I have the best interest of Quenemo and the residents at the forefront of everything I will be voting on, should I get elected. I am also a former employee of the City of Quenemo.
I would work closely with county and state to improve our drainage issues and roads. I would like to see someone represent Quenemo on the water board. I would like to look into the water rates see if there is any way of lowering costs to the residents of Quenemo. Foremost, I want to see fairness and equal opportunity for all residents.
I believe some of the top issues are the ditches, drainage, roads, and the water and sewer rates. I am also open to listen to residents’ concerns. I would like to see baseball and softball activities and other events held here for the children of Quenemo.
I am newly married. We have four children, combined, and five grandchildren. I graduated high school in Missouri and have two years of college experience. I am currently certified in small water systems through KDHE. I have a Class B CDL. I have held multiple other union positions and operated multiple heavy equipment through the years. I look forward to serving the residents of Quenemo. 




Tim Nedeau
Scranton City Council


I am proud to say that I was raised in Osage County and I am also a homeowner here. I am equally proud to say I am a school teacher. I feel each of these life situations has helped me become a reasonable, responsible, and rational adult and councilmember. Each of these personality traits is something we need in all levels of government. I am willing to listen to all sides of an issue to determine the best course of action that benefits our community as a whole.
I want to continue to work toward community cleanup efforts by improving blighted and abandoned properties within the city. Located as close as we are to larger cities, Scranton is a “diamond in the rough” bedroom community. Having a safe, clean and prideful small-town community should encourage others to relocate to our area. More citizens in our community will hopefully add more students to our school systems and bring businesses to town. I would also like to continue to beautify our city park with historical attractions and rebuild our horseshoe pits.
The image of our city is foremost on my list of issues. Scranton has a wonderful city park and I never get tired of hearing that statement from people outside our community. I will continue to work on the cleanup of blighted properties and street repair for safety concerns. I also would like to help create some summertime and holiday activities for our neighborhood community.
I grew up in rural Osage County and graduated from Santa Fe Trail High School. I graduated from Fort Hays State University with a Bachelor of Art in History. I have taught and coached in the public school system for 24 years. I was on the committee that chose the new city park layout and equipment, and I helped reorganize the Saturday in the Park celebration with the hotdog lunch and ice cream social. I have run the Scranton softball marathon, which has raised $20,000 in four years. The money raised goes to community park improvements and city events. 



Amy Jo Miner
Scranton City Council


I chose Osage County, and specifically Scranton, as my home. I wanted and sought out small-town life and chose a community I could see growing in the future, and a place where my children and grandchildren could come back to year after year for the festivities and atmosphere. I am a school teacher and feel it has helped me be open to new ideas and provided the chance to improve my problem-solving skills. Often, after being open to examine all sides of an issue, then we can move forward with the best solutions for the town as a whole.
I would like to continue efforts toward community cleanup by continuing to improve our park, addressing blighted areas, and working toward a solution for abandoned homes. Providing a safe, inviting and true small-town atmosphere would help encourage others to move to our town. This, in turn, would encourage businesses to grow.
I believe the perception of others of our city is most important. We have brought back some of the town’s traditions, expanded on them and have slowly incorporated some new facets of those traditions. It is wonderful when new vendors attend our summer event and also more guests to our town. I feel expanding on those activities and creating new ones will bring more people into town to participate, thus increase traffic for our local businesses. In addition, working with others to improve street safety and address our town’s blights is key.
I worked to register and create Pawsitive Solutions, a non-profit trap, neuter, release program that, at no cost to our city, humanely reduces the number of community cats. I was on the committee that chose the new city park equipment and layout. I volunteer my time to work the concessions at the city’s ball marathon, including trash pick-up after the event. Finally, I have helped plan and organize Saturday in the Park for several years and have worked to expand it each year. 



Brenda Lester
Scranton City Council


I feel as though I am the right fit for this position due to several reasons; first-hand experience working for the city, current position of community manager where I am responsible to help build and maintain a budget, and my dedication of wanting this to be a place where my children want to raise their family.
The first thing I would like to accomplish is making sure all our community is treated the same. It shouldn’t matter what is going on with someone personally, everyone should be treated as fairly as possible. The next thing would be to focus on how to make Scranton a better community. As I travel from town to town, the first thing one notices is community involvement. Over the years of growing up here, you have noticed that our events are slowly getting smaller by the year. This would bring me to my last topic of figuring out what we need to do to make people want to stay in our town or make this their new home.
I feel as though our top issues would be our utility rates and vacant/abandoned houses around our community. Both issues I do feel are a big contributor of why people don’t want to join our community, or stay for that matter. Therefore, as member of the council, I would work with the other council members and figure out a way that we can continue to improve our utilities over time to help reduce large increases in our rates. This would go for the same on vacant houses/lots. I feel a short term and long-term goal needs to be made to get these addressed.
I was born and raised in Scranton and chose to keep this my home to raise my family. I have five kids – two stepchildren and three children – that live in the home with me. While in high school, I volunteered at the city clerk’s office my senior year and started raising money for the City Park. With the help of many community members, we raised enough money to build the skate park, and the remaining balance was given to the city to help meet their financial obligation of the grant for the new park. From 2005 to 2008, I worked for the city as the assistant city clerk/treasurer before leaving for my current position as a community manager for an apartment community. 



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