By EARL WATT
• Leader & Times
When Janet Willimon registered to run for the Liberal City Commission, she went to work to earn her spot. From talking to constituents, visiting different groups and organizations and promoting her campaign in the newspaper and on the radio, Willimon presented her high energy style, and the voters responded.
Willimon, a newcomer to seeking public office, earned the most votes in the race for Liberal City Commission and was joined by Bob Carlile and Larry Koochel in earning seats. Incumbent Dave Harrison fell short in his re-election bid after receiving the most votes four years ago.
“I am thrilled,” an excited Willimon said. “I’m humbled by the faith everyone has in me. I thank everyone for their support. I am ready to get to work. I am ready to make Liberal a better place to live.”
Willimon believed that being a life-long resident of the community and meeting voters one on one helped her earn the top spot.
“The point I tried to make all along was I wanted to talk to as many people as I can on the issues, and I truly want to do what is best for the majority,” she said. “I want to educate myself and know the topic real well.”
Willimon grew up as Janet Rosel, and her family operated several energy-related companies in town. She said that the community has had a positive influence on her family, and she is ready to give back.
“I’ve seen lots of changes, but this community has treated my family very well,” Willimon said. “The fact that I moved away and came back, I am able to provide the time and give back to Liberal what it has done for me.”
Carlile, who earned a two year term in 2009, will now have four years.
“I’m pleased that people have recognized the job I’ve done and rewarded me with a four year term,” Carlile said. “We will keep working for the best interest of the city. The city manager and staff have a lot of projects going. There are things we have to do. We have to see what the public wants on the recreation center. We will move forward.”
Larry Koochel, who has served two separate stints on the commission and has the most experience as a city commissioner, has earned another two years.
“I was glad to be re-elected,” Koochel said. “We are going to have a new person, and we are going to work together to keep Liberal moving forward.”
The results will be made official Friday when the Seward County Commission canvasses the election.