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Rice’s return PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 11 January 2018 10:26


Rice appointed to county commission

• Leader & Times

Wednesday’s meeting of the Seward County Republican Party continued a week’s worth of local headlines, as precinct committee members opted to return a familiar face to the county commission’s Fifth District.

Jim Rice, who had served on the commission twice previously, was chosen by the committee by a vote of 7-1 over three other candidates, including two from the recent Liberal City Commission race.

Committee member Stacia Long nominated Rice and Chris Carlile, who finished in the top six in her run for the city commission in 2017. Fellow committee member Steve Leete nominated local volunteer Nancy Parsons for the seat, while James Cook nominated another city commission candidate, Andy Stewart.

Wednesday’s convention was called to find a replacement for Jack Jacob, who in December 2017 announced he was resigning after serving one year as commissioner to move with his family to Walters, Okla.

Jacob was the lone candidate filing in 2016 to replace Rice, who had opted not to seek a third term at that time.

After nominations, each candidate was allowed five minutes to speak, and Rice began his remarks by thanking Long for nominating him.

“I appreciate the nomination,” he said. “When I agreed to do it, I said the only way I would do this is if the people of the Fifth District are willing to support me. Since that time, I’ve had a lot of phone calls, a lot of e-mail messages encouraging me to go ahead and do it. As I began to think about this, I’ve sat up here for the past eight years, so I have a pretty good idea of still what’s going on.”

Rice then talked about four qualities he believed made a good commissioner.

“I have down here knowledge, experience, dedication, and I added on my part continued involvement,” he said. “I guess I would say my knowledge began back in about 1972 or 1973. I received a call from a county commissioner asking if I’d serve on the Seward County Fair Board.”

This was the beginning, Rice said, of his involvement in county government.

“I’ve missed a few years in between, but I’ve always been interested in what the county government has been doing,” he said. “I served in that capacity for about seven years, and then I decided to run for county commissioner. I was fortunate enough to be elected. I served eight years as county commissioner.”

Rice has stayed involved in county government, serving on the rural fire board and the health board amongst others.

“Even though I wasn’t a county commissioner, my involvement in county government continued,” he said. “As I look back on my experience, all of those boards gave me insight into what really happened in county government outside of being a county commissioner.”

Rice said he feels what he has learned in his time on the commission and other boards has served him well.

“I think that education by serving on those boards, learning what they do and how they work is very important, and I still use quite a bit of that today,” he said.

Rice said attendance is another key to being a good commissioner.

“I don’t think you sign up and start missing meetings,” he said. “I think you need to attend as many of those as you can.”

Rice’s name will now be forwarded to Governor Sam Brownback for confirmation before being sworn in by Long, who is also the Seward County clerk. Rice is expected to begin serving at the first county commission meeting in February.

Jacob’s term was a four-year term that began in 2017. With Jacob serving just one year, Rice will serve for 2018, but would need to run and win in 2018 to serve in 2019 and 2020.

The seat is open to any Fifth District resident who wishes to file and run. Contact the Seward County Clerk’s office for more information about the election process.




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