Bill Hogelin, a former nine-year member of the Parsons City Commission, has filed to run as a Republican for a seat on the Labette County Commission.
Hogelin will face challenger Cole Proehl in the August primary in the race to fill the seat that will be vacated by Commissioner Doug Allen.
Hogelin said that if Allen had filed to reclaim his seat, he wouldn’t have filed.
“Since he didn’t file for reelection and with all the issues facing the commission and the county, I thought it’d be best for someone with experience to fill the position,” Hogelin said.
The primary is scheduled for Aug. 4 while the general election is Nov. 3.
Hogelin, a former insurance adjuster for Allstate who has lived in Parsons for over 60 years, served on the city commission from 2011 to 2020. His term ended in January after he decided against a reelection campaign.
“First of all, my wife and I have been residents of Parsons most of our lives,” Hogelin said. “Not only have we’ve been active in the community, we’re also very familiar with the citizens itself.”
With the county bracing for a litany of economic challenges in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hogelin knows budgeting will be a key point of emphasis for the commission.
“The priority is going to be the budget,” Hogelin said. “This is where my experience comes in. I’m a retired insurance adjuster. The job consisted of evaluating numbers and adjusting them as needed. Having gone through the budget for the city for the past nine years also gives me the experience. It’s going to be a tough situation to be in. I think I’m more than well qualified to do it.”
With the potential for counties to be given more authority to regulate how they reopen their local economies, Hogelin acknowledges that Labette County has been fortune to not be among the most heavily impacted areas in the state.
“We have to keep everybody safe. I think we’ve been very fortunate that we haven’t had as many cases as other areas of the state,” Hogelin said. “You’re going to have to have guidance on how to open up the economy. Most of that will be done from the state level. But I know there’s a movement to let the individual counties determine themselves when and how to reopen. If that goes through, it’ll come back to the commissioners to do it.”
Outside of the pandemic’s economic impact, Hogelin also wants a chance to tackle the proposed wind farm in the county.
“One of the main, if not the main, issue outside of the virus are the turbines and the effect on the county,” Hogelin said. “I think the commission has done the proper approach in pulling in a committee to study the situation. I know it’ll be impossible to make everybody happy. But we can’t lose sight of what’s happened in other counties and see how divisive it’s been. We don’t want that for Labette County.”
Hogelin intends to campaign and reach voters while working around any lingering health guidelines and restrictions imposed by the coronavirus.
“My name is already pretty well established. That doesn’t mean I don’t look forward to campaigning. We’ll try to reach out to the voters as best we can, whether that’s through phone calls or mailers or whatnot,” Hogelin said.
The former city commissioner is poised to challenge Proehl, a local landlord and business owner, for Allen’s seat on the commission.
“I do have the experience,” Hogelin said. “We’re entering into uncertain times. With what lies ahead, it’ll take a level-headed, common-sense approach. I think I’ve proven that I can give that.”