Gage County Sheriff Millard “Gus” Gustafson filed the necessary paperwork Monday to run for reelection, while a pair of political newcomers also filed recently to run for seats on the Gage County Board of Supervisors.
Susan Barnard announced her intentions on Friday to run for Gage County Board of Supervisors.
She will vie for the District 7 seat currently held by Dave Anderson.
Kathleen Setzer will run for the District 3 seat currently held by Gary Barnard.
The deadline for incumbents to file is Feb. 16, while non-incumbents have until March 1 to file.
Millard “Gus” Gustafson
Gustafson was elected sheriff in 2007 and has been a member of the Gage County Sheriff’s Department since 1978.
Gustafson said there are still things he’d like to get accomplished as sheriff, which is why he is running again.
He said he would like to build on what he’s accomplished in his first four years, like getting more information to the public through their Web site.
Gustafson also said a goal of his is to become more involved with the youth of the county.
That means building programs geared towards children, maybe having deputies visit the schools periodically if time permits.
“We’d like to let kids get to know us,” Gustafson said. “We want to start a proactive stance instead of a reactive (stance).”
Gustafson’s first term was centered around a new jail bond issue that was soundly defeated. Gustafson said he wasn’t surprised by the vote but said the current jail is still in desperate need of maintenance.
“What people don’t understand is when we pass our jail standards inspections, that only pertains to things around the jail that we provide for the inmates,” Gustafson said. “Basic building maintenance is a separate topic and is in desperate need of changes.”
Gustafson doesn’t see the issue of a new jail coming up again for a while.
“I think we need to wait a while,” Gustafson said. “At least until the courthouse is done.”
Wymore resident Jeff Leikam filed to run for sheriff last week and is Gustafson’s only opponent so far.
Barnard has worked 15 years for a public utility as a marketing and public relations specialist and for the past three years, she’s also been the accounting and human resource manager for a local contractor.
Barnard said she’s always been interested in local government and decided the time was right to run.
“I’m a young working mother who’s been involved with a lot of community based activities,” Barnard said. “My family is grown up now and I’m finally in a position with my employer so that I can run for a position like (county board), where meetings are held during the day.”
One item Barnard hopes to experiment with if she wins is having board meeting held during the evenings so more people can attend. She would like to try it on a trial basis and see if it works.
Barnard would also like to see improvements to the county’s Web site.
She said she’s familiar with other counties and said they do a better job of getting people information by using the Internet.
Barnard also expressed frustration with the special jail election held in November that was overwhelmingly defeated.
Barnard said she went to a few presentations on the jail and said she wouldn’t have been in favor of the special election, citing a few issues such as the location.
Barnard’s husband is a first cousin to current Supervisor Gary Barnard.
She said Gary Barnard had no baring on her decision to run and noted both her and Gary are independent thinkers who happen to share the same last name.
Barnard said she has no problem with Anderson, but is a strong believer in term limits.
“Dave has put in tons of hours and tons of time,” Barnard said. “But there comes a time when you step aside and let someone else come in and build on what you’ve started.”
Anderson, contacted Monday, said he hasn’t decided if he’ll file for reelection.
Setzer is a Beatrice native, the daughter of Garold and Clarice Kleveland, who until their recent retirement, ran Kleveland’s Service station for 55 years.
Setzer’s husband, Mark Setzer, opened Setzer’s Manufacturing in Beatrice in 1973.
Kathleen began working for the company as office manager after the couple’s marriage in 1980.
The couple have two adult daughters.
“I’ve always told my kids that if you can make a change, then you should step up and do that,” Setzer said.
She said rising taxes are chief among her concerns, as is the jail issue.
“I’m not saying we don’t need a new jail, but the way it took place,” Setzer said. “I see some things like with GCED (Gage County Economic Development), and I don’t know real specifics on that, but it seems like things like this don’t work real well.”
Setzer said there isn’t one specific issue that has prompted her to run for office.
“I think I would be good because, for one thing, I can put my time and energy into it,” she said. “I can see the whole picture, not just one little bit of it. I’m willing to do the research that it takes to get to the bottom of something, instead of just looking at the top and glazing over it. I’d rather do my own research.”
The District 3 seat on the county board is currently held by Gary Barnard, who has not yet decided if he’ll run for reelection.
“There’s not any one thing,” Setzer said of her reason for running. “I just think it’s time to get some new people in there instead of always relying on the same people.”