Johnson County Commissioners Back Mayor

Johnson County Commissioner Jim Hicks, left, congratulates Dave Kinskey following the appointment. (Photo by Leslie Stratmoen)
Johnson County Commissioner Jim Hicks, left, congratulates Dave Kinskey following the appointment. (Photo by Leslie Stratmoen)

As a surprise turn of events, the commissioners of Johnson County voted for Sheridan's mayor to fill an open state senate seat. Sheridan Media's Leslie Stratmoen has the report.

Sheridan Mayor Dave Kinskey is the newly appointed senator for District 22, which covers Johnson County and a substantial portion of Sheridan County. As reported earlier, he was chosen Monday morning by the commissioners of both counties. The selection was made after a public meeting during which he and finalists Ryan Wright and James Gampetro, both of Johnson County, made their case for filling the post left vacant by the death of State Senator John Schiffer who died, suddenly, last month.

What came as a surprise to some was that Kinskey was voted in by all three of the commissioners from Johnson County and just two of Sheridan County's five commissioners to give him just over 67 percent of the vote.

The other three commissioners from Sheridan County backed the Johnson County candidates, with Wright receiving 21 and a half percent of the vote and Gampetro, 10, plus.

The ballots were not made public, but the percentages were, and posted on a screen in commission chambers to the audience of about 30 people. Sheridan County Commission Chairman Terry Cram made the announcement, then Kinskey stepped to the podium.

He continued to share his thoughts during an interview directly following the meeting.

As for his transition from mayor to senator, he said that will move quickly.

He cannot serve in both positions because state statute mandates no one can hold two public offices, simultaneously.

The breakdown of voting percentages was figured on the population. With 53.9 percent coming from Sheridan County and 46.1 percent from Johnson County, that meant a Sheridan County commissioner's vote was worth 10.78 percent and Johnson County's 15.36.

So, Gampetro's 10 percent, plus, could only come from a Sheridan County commissioner. Figuring in the same fashion, three Johnson County votes for Kinskey tallied 46.08, and Sheridan County's two 10.78 percents equaling 21.56 comes to just over 67 percent.

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