Three incumbents run unopposed

By Angie Baldelomar

Decatur County’s register of deeds, treasurer and county attorney are running for re- election unopposed for the Republican primary election Aug 2.

Kari Ketterl, the register of deeds, is running for her third term. She is married to Vernon Ketterl and they have three grown sons, Spencer, 38 Jason, 37; and Todd, 34, who also live here and have families of their own.

Mrs. Ketterl said she worked on the farm with her husband and children until she decided to run for the register’s job in 2008. She said her passion for history was one of the driving forces that got her interested in the job, which involves recording deeds, mortgages and other transactions for property in the county

“I am honored to serve and I truly care for the community and the people,” she said.

Mrs. Ketterl said one of the challenges of her job is striving to keep the office running efficiently and keeping up with the current regulations.

County Treasurer Jean Hale said she has worked in the treasurer’s office for more than 15 years now and at the courthouse around 30. She is married to Byron Hale, and they have an 11-year-old daughter, Cheyanna.

“I enjoy the day-to-day challenges of working with the numbers,” she said, “and at the end of the day, everything balances.”

Besides enjoying the bookkeeping part of her job, she said, she gets to meet new people.

The challenge, Mrs. Hale said, is keeping up with ever-changing state laws. She graduated from the Decatur Community High School and then went to a vocational school in Goodland, earning a credential in the secretarial program.

County Attorney Steve Hirsch is serving his seventh term. He and his wife Anita have two grown children, Joseph and Jenny, both teachers. Mr. Hirsch attended Kansas State University and the Washburn University School of Law. He said he grew up in the northcentral part of Kansas.

One of the most satisfying – and most challenging – things of his job as an attorney is working with juvenile cases. Some kids need some direction in their lives, he said, because they sometimes don’t have a parent in their lives or they do have one who isn’t playing a significant role.

“Being able to get these kids to where they grow up, that’s the most important thing I do,” he said, “whether it’d be with my family or with somebody else’s kids.”

Mr. Hirsch has prosecuted all types of cases, from traffic tickets to murders, in his almost 28 years as county attorney.

Mr. Hirsch said he has had some of the people he helped as teens come back and thank him for helping put them on the right path.

“That’s been pretty gratifying,” he said.

Mr. Hirsch is also the Sheridan County attorney and assistant county attorney in Logan County.

All three candidates are running unopposed in their races for the primary, and then they will run unopposed in the general election on Nov. 6.


This story was published on the front page of The Oberlin Herald‘s print edition on July 20, 2016.

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