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Independent candidate running for commission

News editor

Gary Dean Lewis of Marion will challenge incumbent Dan Holub in the campaign for Marion County Commission District 2.

Lewis filed as an independent candidate, so the race won’t be decided until the general election Nov. 6. He said he chose to run as an independent because he has been a member of both the Republican and Democratic parties, has known great people on both sides of the aisle, and he can’t bring himself to be a hardliner on either side.

“I believe in community service, and I would like the opportunity to bring new ideas to promote growth,” Lewis said Monday.

He said Marion County shouldn’t put all its economic development eggs in the tourism basket.

“It seems that’s what we’re basing our economics on,” he said. “There’s a lot more we could do.”

Lewis said he thinks the county needs to give more support to employees who have been hired to do their best, as well as supporting the wide variety of volunteers who work to make Marion County a good place to visit and live.

Lewis and his wife, Patti, decided to move to Marion after visiting several times. Living in Derby four years ago, they had no previous knowledge of Marion County until some cousins who had a vacation home in the county invited them to visit. After a few visits, they decided to get a vacation home in the county, too. But it wasn’t long before they decided they wanted to make Marion their permanent home, mostly because of the nice people they met.

“That’s one of the reasons my wife and I moved here four years ago,” Lewis said. “The people are just fantastic.”

He said that if elected, he wouldn’t accept the salary that accompanies being a county commissioner. There are organizations locally that could do a lot more good with that money than it going into his pocket, he said.

Lewis is retired from the U.S. Air Force after 22 years and has worked for Bombardier Learjet in Wichita for 14 years. He and his wife have three grown children and eight grandchildren.

Last modified June 14, 2012

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