State House, county commission candidates to square off at Meridian Center

By Newton Now Staff

Voters will have a chance to get informed about all their local candidates all in one sitting.

Newton Now and the Newton Chamber of Commerce will host a candidate forum and debate at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 17, at the Meridian Center that will include all candidates from the State House race as well as the Harvey County Commission race.

The candidates will be asked questions formulated by moderator Adam Strunk as well as by members of the crowd.

Each forum session will last approximately an hour, and the format should allow for a broad series of questions to be asked.

Candidates will have one minute and 30 seconds for opening and closing statements. They will have a minute to answer each question, and they will alternate on who answers the question last.

The first forum will be between county commission candidates Chip Westfall, Dan Harms and Greg Nickel.

Westfall (R), is a 12-year incumbent of county commission and a retired Kansas Highway Patrol officer, who served as a trooper for 41 years.

Dan Harms (I) is a local business owner with Dan’s House of Glass. Harms was also an organizer of a movement to prevent the sale of Camp Hawk.

Greg Nickel (I) is a municipal court administrator for the City of Newton.

The second forum will be held between candidates for State House District 72, Rep. Tim Hodge (D) and Steve Kelly (R).

Hodge, an attorney at Adrian and Pankratz, is seeking his second term as Newton and North Newton’s state representative after unseating Mark Rhoades in the 2016 election.

Kelly, former CEO of Newton Medical Center, hopes to unseat Hodge as the Republican Party’s nominee.

The event is sponsored by the Informed Women of Harvey County as well as The Newton Chamber of Commerce.