Derby Mayor Dion Avello filed Thursday to run for the District 5 seat on the Sedgwick County Commission.
Avello has been mayor of Derby since 2003. He ran unsuccessfully for the District 5 race in 2010, losing in the Republican primary to current commissioner Jim Skelton. Skelton announced earlier this year he would not seek another term. District 5 covers southeast Wichita and Derby.
“He dropped out and he called me and asked me if I was interested in running,” Avello said of Skelton. “I got one phone call after another from people encouraging me to run again.”
Avello will face Rep. Jim Howell, R-Derby, in the Republican primary.
A Democrat, Richard Young of Wichita, also has filed for the District 5 seat.
In an interview, Avello said that after 19 years of small-city politics, “I know how small cities operate. I know what they need.”
He said he is proud of Derby’s growth and the city’s ability to operate on a balanced budget. He wants to bring his experience in Derby to the county.
“Since I have been mayor, we have experienced growth and prosperity,” Avello said in a news release. “We are the 18th largest city in Kansas and of the 20 largest cities, Derby is the third-fastest growing.”
Derby has added more than 350 new businesses and more than 1,800 new jobs since 2008, he said in the release.
“We have money in reserve funds and our 2014 budget calls for no increase in the mill levy,” the release said.
Avello, 74, owns Acme Lithographers, a printing business in Wichita that mostly prints envelopes. He said he is “about ready to get out of it.”
One issue that concerns Avello is unfunded mandates – programs and services the state requires the county to have but doesn’t fund.
“I’m a big home rule guy,” he said. “I can mix it up with the state on taking any more of our tax dollars.”
The primary election is Aug. 5. The filing deadline for candidates is June 2.