Trish Giordano and Alex Tyson have maintained their leads over Commissioner Brad Scholz of Geary County District 1 and Commissioner Charles Stimatze of Geary County District 2 respectively after vote canvassing Friday.
Giordano will take the District 1 seat and Tyson will take the District 2 seat when they take their oath of office in January 2021.
After canvassing, Tyson had 1,633 votes to Stimatze’s 1,396 and Giordano had 2,219 to Scholz’s 1,944.
Tyson said he was glad campaign season had ended.
“I’m happy it’s over,” he said. “Happy the campaign ended and all that is over so we can start moving forward and getting ready to make some changes.”
Changes Tyson hopes to make include plans to help Geary Community Hospital and looking into a financial manager.
“All of us as commissioners understand that we need to chip in where we can to help them be successful,” he said. “That doesn’t necessarily mean handing over tons of funds to try to fix a problem. It's strategically planning and having a good outlook for what the future holds for the hospital.”
Both he and Giordano have expressed an interest in hiring a financial manager for the county to help commissioners oversee the budget, believing that doing so will help save the county money in the long run.
Tyson said he anticipated challenges.
“No one wants to pay extra taxes,” Tyson said. “That’s the biggest concern for a lot of our constituents — that taxes are going to go up.”
He hopes to keep them low.
"I pay taxes here, I own a house here,” he said. “I don’t want to pay higher taxes. So I think that’s always going to be an obstacle with the constituency here in our county — reassuring them that we’re not looking to (raise taxes) — we’re looking to better equip the county."
Tyson hopes to find ways improve quality of life for young families and the elderly in the community.
“That way Geary County is a place to call home for everyone, not just a select few,” he said.
Tyson believes his appeal to young families and veterans helped him at the polls.
“They understand how great this community is and what this community can be, if you get people who want to create change here,” he said.
Tyson said he looked forward to building up the relationship between the City of Junction City, the school district and the county.
“At the end of the day, I’m super excited and ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work,” he said.
Giordano had been “cautiously optimistic” about her victory going into Friday’s canvassing, but expressed excitement once her victory was confirmed.
“I didn’t want to just assume I won,” she said. “There were 526 ballots and I was only up by 240-some. I wanted to say that I won, but I didn’t want to just assume that. I just didn’t think that was the right thing to do."
She talked about plans to hire a finance manager to help Geary County manage its budget.
Giordano believes her commitment to adding financial oversight contributed to her victory.
Giordano said she had looked into companies that might offer temporary financial managers “if we just want to try one out for a year.”
“I think that would be something good,” she said. “I’m going to have plenty of time to research that after I retire in two weeks."
Among her plans are retirement from the Junction City Police Department where she is Captain of Investigations as of Dec. 1. Giordano said she has already submitted the paperwork after 28 years with the department.
“This job has been something that I love,” she said. “It’s bittersweet, but I think it’s time and I’m just looking forward to moving on."
Giordano said she looked forward to working with local entities.
“There’s so many groups working on positive things and I want to be able to help them, guide them and get things done,” she said. “We need to quit talking about what we want to do and do it.”
Giordano believes her law enforcement background — the skills she picked up as a Captain with the JCPD — will help her as a county commissioner, because both are forms of public service.
“I want the best for our community,” she said. “Doing that in law enforcement, I think I did that one way and this will be a different way, but there will be a lot of similarities. Working with different personalities and solving problems and just thinking outside the box.”
According to Rebecca Nordyke, of the more than 500 provisional ballots, they counted 298 and 269 were not counted for a variety of legal reasons. The Geary County election board, which is staffed with workers from both the local Democratic and Republican parties, tallied up all remaining votes Friday.