assembly was put together this week by LCHS Superintendent Robert
Bagby, and Civics and Government teacher Jeff Cooper. Cooper
explained that at LCHS each senior is required to take either a
civics class or a government class. The discussion had taken place
at the school as to how to proceed to introduce the students to the
candidates and encourage them to participate in the primary election
coming at the end of this month. Options had been weighed, and it
was decided a single one hour assembly with all the seniors would be
the best plan of action.
said that in the senior class there are some who have already turned
18, and the school wants to encourage those students to vote. In
addition, he said that any student who will turn 18 before the
general election on April 4th has the right to go ahead and register
to vote now and to participate in the primary election on February
28th. As a part of his class, Cooper said he would offer extra
credit to students who do go vote.
day began with the candidates being permitted five to 10 minutes to
talk about themselves and discuss their political platform,
beginning with Kevin Bateman.
Bateman introduced himself and reported that he was a lifelong
resident of Lincoln and Logan County. He said he was a 1982
graduate of LCHS, his four children had attended the school, and he
had grandchildren that would also attend LCHS.
Bateman reviewed his resume, noting his involvement in the community
through the Up in Smoke on the Square, as well as on the Logan
County Board and board committee memberships as well.
closed saying that he loved the city of Lincoln and was very
invested in seeing the town grow and thrive.
Lee Rohlfs spoke mostly on her years at LCHS as a teacher. She
explained that she grew up in Logan County, and had a job at LCHS by
the time she graduated college. She talked about her experience at
the school and the young people she got to know and still knows, who
had an impact on her life.
told the students always to remember that while the teachers and the
school are having an impact on the students, the students also have
an impact on the teachers by helping them grow, and also by forming
also revisited a topic she discussed in the Lincoln/Logan County
Chamber of Commerce Mayoral Forum on February 1st. She said that
now as seniors, the students were making decisions about their
future. She said college might be an option, but students may also
wish to end their education at high school and seek employment. She
said that she wanted to see job opportunities for those students
here in Lincoln so that they would not need to leave home in order
Goodman began by introducing himself and stating he is now 29 years
old. He was a graduate of LCHS and Millikin University. He came
home to perfect his profession, selling real estate. He said that
he chose to come home because he saw the potential but also saw that
he could create potential within his home community.
asked for a show of hands, how many seniors intended to leave
Lincoln and how many intended to stay after school. Those leaving
outnumbered those who would be staying. Goodman said that was why
he was running for mayor; he wants to help make this city a place
where people will want to stay.
Neitzel said that she too was raised in Lincoln and attended LCHS.
She and her husband ran a business together here, they raised a
family and attended church right here in town. She said she had
become mayor to help the city thrive.
Neitzel said her desire was to see Lincoln be a town where young
people want to stay and want to raise their families. She said to
make Lincoln a better place, the city needs to focus on small
business because small businesses are the backbone of the economy.
She wants to see young people have opportunities in small business.
said that Lincoln is a safe place to live and she wants to keep it
Neitzel reported that in the last city election held, only 10
percent of the residents went to the polls. She said that was about
1,500 people making the decisions for a population of 15,000.
Neitzel told the students that voting is a privilege and an
opportunity for everyone to have their voice heard in local
government. She encouraged the students to take advantage of their
privilege and to become involved in the future of the city with
the assembly, students had been asked to submit questions for the
candidates. The questions were to be addressed to specific
candidates. Four of the questions were selected beforehand, and
those students were to stand and present the question to the
first question was from Luke Terrell and addressed to Kevin Bateman.
is it about you that separates you from the other candidates for
mayor, such as issues that you believe are a priority for the city
Bateman recounted that when he became a member of the Logan County
Board, he was given advice that he could not run the county like he
does a business. Bateman said he disagreed. He said the county,
and now the city is indeed a business. He said yes there were
differences. In business, one sets the budget, and it needs to be
balanced, and even profitable. He said the city budget needed to be
balanced, but the goal should be to spend less so as to give money
back to the taxpayers.
Batemans said he would work to bring together people who can work
together and achieve the goals of the city at a lesser cost, thus
saving the city money and in the end the taxpayer's money.
told the students to remember that it is not what they make that
matters, but how they spend what they have. He said as mayor he
would hold to that principal in city government.
Bateman went on to say that he felt it was okay for people to leave
Lincoln to work, he does. He said the goal should make the town a
place where people want to live and raise their families. He said
he wanted to grow small business, and have more to offer residents,
so they see no need to leave this community.
said, yes, he would like to see big manufacturing come to Lincoln,
but that Lincoln can grow and thrive without it.
Tibbs had a question for Seth Goodman. Can you explain why your
inexperience in government should not be a concern to the voters?
Goodman kept this answer very short, saying there are a lot of
politicians in top positions that are not good leaders. He said
that he would bring to the city a fresh perspective and fresh
ideas. He concluded that the lack of experience in city government
does not define what kind of mayor he will be.
question for Marty Neitzel came from Graham Hill. What plans or
ideas do you have to encourage the growth of business in Lincoln?
Neitzel returned to her earlier statement saying that small business
is key to Lincoln. She noted that large factories would be good,
but small businesses also provide jobs for the citizens. She noted
that small business is growing in Lincoln. She noted the arrival of
the second Casey’s store, the upcoming construction of the new
Dunkin Donuts, and the new larger McDonald’s that is on the
horizon. She also mentioned the resurrection of the Tropics sign at
McDonald's, and the tourism draw that will come to the city from
then said that there is opportunity for economic growth in Lincoln
that not everyone sees, and that is in the development of facilities
for senior living. She noted the various senior living centers that
are here, the recent arrival of Copper Creek, and development and
expansion projects underway at St. Clara’s. She said this not only
adds to the quality of life for senior residents but will bring more
jobs to Lincoln.
Neitzel moved on to say that she wanted to continue developing an
attractive downtown. She noted that she wanted people to come to
Lincoln and see a nice downtown area and want to stay here and be a
part of the community.
[to top of second column]
concluded that while she has no specific plans to lay out, she does
have a lot of ideas.
fourth question came from Jacob Konekyk and was addressed to Wanda
Lee Rohlfs. A common complaint of young people in our
community is that there are few activities for them. This could
contribute to the rate of drug use and delinquency in our city. Do
you have any ideas to help address this issue?
said that first of all, drugs are not new to Logan County and
Lincoln, the problems have existed in the area for years. She also
noted that the problem is not locally isolated, that drug problems
are everywhere. She said as much as it would be good to see the
problems go away, that isn’t going to happen, drugs will continue to
be an issue.
said the bigger question is what are the circumstances in a person’s
life that lead them to make the decision to use drugs? She said she
felt a lot of it was self-esteem.
said that there needs to be more offerings of programs that will
help young people know their potential. She commented that programs
like the Lincoln Land CEO that teaches kids how to create job paths
using the talents they have are key to giving young people purpose.
she talked about not necessarily sending kids off to college, but
giving them skill-sets that they can use to find employment locally
right out of high school.
said that questions need to be asked of young people, such as “What
makes you leave? And how can we help you stay?”
also commented that visiting a pizza restaurant recently she was
told that young people are more often hired from outside of Lincoln
than from in town. The reason being that kids graduating from other
schools have more ‘transferable skills.” Rohlfs said that needed to
said, yes, she hears people say there is nothing to do in Lincoln,
but she feels there is more offered here than ever before, so the
big question is “What do you want?” In addition, she said another
question would be “what will you do to enjoy what you want?” She
noted that there was a call for a skateboard track in the past. The
Lincoln Park District was willing to address that want but found
that kids said they were not willing to travel across town to the
park district to enjoy what was offered.
that, the formal question period was concluded. Cooper said the
students had about 15 minutes left in the class period, so he would
take random questions for all four candidates.
question came about the poor condition of the streets, and also the
home in the city that the questioner labeled as “not nice.”
Batemans was the first to answer saying that his focus would be on
quality, not quantity. He said the “city has touted they did nine
miles of roads this year.’ But he said the road work was not quality
work. He said he would have spent the same amount of money, done
fewer miles but better work, so that the roads would last longer.
Bateman also talked about public transportation and said the county
had implemented the transportation program around the city in
conjunction with Community Action. He said he would like to see
that program someday also include evening drives to the movie
theater or the school for ballgames. He said he would also like to
hear from the people about what they want and need in a public
Goodman said that he felt that roads were important, and he felt
that all the candidates shared that feeling. He said cleaning up
the city was part of community pride, and something that he wanted
everyone in the city to be a part of.
Neitzel countered Bateman’s statement about the quality of work done
this year on city streets saying she felt the city had done a good
job and that the constituents were pleased. She also talked about
new equipment the city is using to do more durable patches of
potholes and felt that was a very positive step in the right
direction for the entire town.
commented that she had researched and spent time with the city
street department, learning about road maintenance and repair and
that it was a far more complicated issue than folks would imagine.
She said the big problems facing the city now was there is a great
need for repairs throughout the town, and not enough money.
noted that in addition to needing money for streets, there were
mandates coming before the city with expenses the city would be
forced to pay regardless of affordability. The upgrades to the
sewer system are an example of what must be done by law, that the
city doesn’t have the funding to for at the moment.
said that the city would need to explore new ways to fund projects
and determine how to move the city forward affordably.
last question of the day was addressed to Goodman only. The student
noted that in their freshman year there were 250 students enrolled
in the class of 2017. As graduation approaches, there are now only
150. The question was what can be done to improve the school
experience, so there will be fewer dropouts.
Goodman said he would question if the entire number lost was drop
out students. He said the population of the city is declining, and
he would wonder how many of those lost students were because
families left town to live elsewhere.
answer, though, he added that the key to keeping students in school
is to engage them and get them involved in school activities but
also get them involved in the community.
other candidates were invited to answer the same question, but only
Bateman had time for a short comment. He said he agreed with
Goodman that the bigger issue is people leaving Lincoln to live
elsewhere. He said the challenge is to find out why they left, and
what the city can do to help bring them back.
that, the hour was over, and students were dismissed to go on to
their next class.
Lincoln, the four candidates running for mayor are all registered
Republicans. Therefore, the mayoral position will basically be
decided on February 28 at the primary, and the general election will
be more or less a formality. Neitzel noted that only 1,500 people
in a population of 15,000 voted in the last city election. She said
that 1,500 were making the decisions for 15,000. There does need to
be a greater participation in the voting process.
week Logan County Clerk Sally Turner said the number of absentee
votes coming in ahead of the primary are very low, something she
choose as our leaders is an important issue. The candidates have
done a lot to make an impression on the community; now it will be
the community’s turn to make an impression of its own. Please
choose to vote February 28th.