Three candidates have filed to run for Ellis County Commission’s first district ahead of the Aug. 7 primary election.
Incumbent Marcy McClelland is seeking another term as a Republican, and will face challenger Butch Schlyer, who worked as the county’s health department administrator for many years. There also will be a democrat on the November general election ballot, as newcomer Chris Rorabaugh, a retired teacher and coach from Ellis, has entered the race.
McClelland is finishing her first-four year term, and said she filed because she has a desire to keep giving back to Ellis County.
“I still wanted to make a difference and I thought that I could after finishing my first term,” she said. “It takes almost a whole term to get acclimated. I thought I represented my district well and I wanted to continue doing so.”
She lives in Hays, growing up near Ellis and graduating from Ellis High School. Her career experiences include working in human resources at a regional non-profit organization. McClelland’s name will appear on the ballot as Martha L. “Marcy” McClelland.
Schlyer worked for Ellis County almost 23 years as administrator of the health department. He said he’s always had an interest in county administration, and began considering a run for public office upon his retirement at the end of 2016.
“I think my experience as a health administrator and working with the other department heads, working with the county administrators we’ve had — I have a lot of experience,” Schlyer said. “I understand the county, the county government, the country structure — how it runs, how it operates. So I don’t have a big learning curve.”
Schlyer, a Hays resident, will be running as a Republican, and his name on the ballot will read Robert “Butch” Schlyer.
Rorabaugh, who lives in Ellis and is a retired teacher and coach, said he decided to run for public office because he wants to see positive development in the county.
“I just know there’s a lot of controversy going on there in a court case,” Rorabaugh said. “I’m all for development in Ellis County, whether it’s residential or commercial. Everybody is not happy with their property taxes. I think one way to keep the property taxes somewhat stable and under control is you’ve go to increase the tax base.”
Rorabaugh spent 38 years working as a teacher and coach, and has spent the last eight years working part-time for the City of Hays public works department.
He said he also would like to see the county explore possibilities to attract more wind energy development, and possibly use payments in lieu of taxes to assist the county’s three public school districts.
“I have no particular agenda against anybody; I just think there’s things we can do to promote more growth in the county,” he said.
There is a possibility additional candidates could enter the race. Independent candidates have until noon Aug. 6 to file for office, as they will not participate in the Aug. 7 primary for party candidates. The deadline was Friday for party candidates.
There also will be three seats open on the Ellis City Council, with only one candidate -- Jolene Niernberger -- filing for election. If there are no additional filings, that election will be decided by write-in votes, said Ellis County Clerk Donna Maskus.
Council members up for election are Niernberger, Susan Eaton and Dena Patee.