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McClelland's win gives commission another female member





Two years after the first woman was elected to the Ellis County Commission, women now are the majority on the panel.

Republican Martha L. "Marcy" McClelland, Hays, is all but certain to be sworn-in as the next representative for District 1 in January. Only a successful write-in campaign during the November general election will prevent her from taking the post because there are no opposing candidates.

Current Commissioner Swede Holmgren opted against re-election.

McClelland edged out her primary opponent, Ellis Mayor Lyle Johnston, by an unofficial count of 163 votes, 456-293. The winner believed her resume gave her an advantage with voters.

"The election probably came down to people that thought I would do a better job than Mr. Johnston because I had a little more leadership experience with organizations and so forth," she said.

Her involvement includes the Ellis County Farm Bureau Board, 4-H and serving as a teacher for the Agriculture in the Classroom program. A desire to contribute more shaped her decision to run.

"It was time for me to try to make a difference, to give back a little bit of what I had received," McClelland said.

McClelland, listed online as a member of the Ellis County Joint Planning Commission, previously told The Hays Daily News she would resign from the planning commission if elected. She also stated she owned land where the wind farm development is proposed to be located and would recuse herself from issues related to the property.

The county's recent struggle to cut $1.7 million from its 2015 budget is just one of the budget cycles McClelland has observed. The current commissioners did a "fine job" reducing the shortfall, she said.

"I could really understand how they had to ascertain which was needs, which was wants, and they didn't want to cut services, and they didn't want to cut employees, and they didn't want to raise taxes," she said.

The Republican said her priorities will be using taxpayers' money wisely, roads, agriculture and the community in general. Finishing the commission's ongoing projects is a goal.

"I thought it was a good, clean campaign," Johnston said. "I think that Marcy did a very good job campaigning. I look forward to seeing how things work out down the line for her and the election."

The runner-up expressed gratitude for his supporters.

"Thank you to all my supporters and the people who voted for me today," Johnston said. "It was much appreciated, and now we move on. Tomorrow is a new day."

The official results will be canvassed Monday by the Ellis County Commission.