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New commissioners elected to office in 2013


A look at some of the top stories from northwest Kansas in 2013.



New faces on the Ellis County Commission and Hays City Commission both said it's been a learning experience.

Republican Barbara Wasinger, who was on the city commission, was elected to the county commission in November 2012.

She took office in January as the county's first female commissioner.

Since 1867, there had been 97 previous commissioners -- all men. Wasinger became the 98th after serving two four-year terms on the Hays City Commission.

"It's been very interesting. It's been a large learning curve," Wasinger said. "The differences between being a city commissioner to a county commissioner, and learning county business, rules, regulations, laws -- it's all a little different."

Shaun Musil, who never previously held elected office, was elected to a four-year term on the city commission in April.

"Being a new kid, I'm learning a lot from all the other commissioners," Musil said. "It's really enjoyable.

"Whether it's a one-time thing or a few years more, it's something I'm glad I did it. I look forward to the next three-and-a-half years I have. It's been fun. I really have enjoyed it."

Wasinger said she also has had a positive experience in her 11 months in office.

"It's been wonderful," she said. "It's been a very productive year. ... It's been very exciting. I really enjoyed it."

Democrat Eber Phelps, who previously had been on the city commission before being elected a state representative in 1996, filled out the remainder of Wasinger's city term after she won her county race.

He then ran for election in April. He, like Musil, earned a four-year term from voters.

Republican challenger Sue Boldra defeated Phelps in the race in the 111th Kansas District in November 2012.

Republican Travis Couture-Lovelady, Palco, who was the winner in the 110th District race.

Both Boldra and Lovelady were first-time members of the Kansas House of Representatives when they took office in January.

in Topeka in January.