The results are in, with one position still too close to call.

As things stand now, Tuesday elections brought in all new faces with zero incumbents being retained. Provisional ballots still have a chance to swing the City of Atchison City Commission race, with Lisa Moody in third place, ahead of Charlie Perdue, by 4 votes. The Atchison County Board of County Commissioners will canvass the vote at 1:15 p.m. Monday, Nov. 18, to determine a final result at the Atchison County Courthouse.

I was incredibly impressed with voter turnout, considering local elections happen in the off-year from national politics. This year, Abby Bartlett led the commission race with 803 votes. In 2017, the top vote earner had 690, and 600 was the bar set in 2015. We are trending in a great direction for voter engagement. Local elections remain the least attended, however, even though they have the largest impact.

I want to sincerely thank everyone that ran for local office. Putting yourself through an election is one of the most stressful things you can do. It shows your dedication to our community. I remember how, when I ran for office, I started stress-eating chocolate chips straight out of the bag. It turns out that this isn’t a very healthy coping mechanism.

We had several great candidates and Atchison got to choose the ones that displayed the best vision for moving forward. Thank you also to our city commissioners and school board members, who are stepping down. You fought the good fight, and now it’s time for someone else to take up the task of guiding Atchison.

Congratulations to all the newly elected officials. Now the real work begins. I’m excited to join you in making our community the best it can be. With so many new faces coming into leadership positions, we are ready for new approaches and fresh ideas. I’m also thrilled to see that as things stand, all five women running were elected to office. They were elected for their leadership, character, and ideas.

I’m very proud of our community right now. I have two daughters, and I think that it’s important they are able to see women in leadership roles in our community. Now they don’t have to look very far.

The new City Commission will have to get to work right away. The new commissioners will be seated at 4:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 2, and 2020 promises to be a very impactful year for Atchison. We will have to address blighted and vacant housing, decide on the future of our downtown, and develop a strategic plan.

The new Atchison Public Schools USD 409 Board of Education members get be seated in January, and they will be busy as well. They join our recently hired superintendent, Renee Scott. Some great things are happening in our schools right now. We will continue to partner on providing for a school resource officer via the Atchison Police Department, and work together in any way we can.

We have a lot of momentum in Atchison right now. I’m excited about our future, and can’t wait to see the contributions of our newly elected officials.

Shawn Rizza has served on the City of Atchison City Commission since January 2018, following his election to a four-year term in November 2017. His colleagues appointed him as mayor for 2019 at the beginning of this year.

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