Jim Skelton enters GOP race for County Commission seat

Wichita City Council member Jim Skelton has been planning to run for the Sedgwick County Commission since late 2009.

Friday, he made it official by filing for the 5th District seat held by Gwen Welshimer, who is seeking re-election.

He will face at least two opponents in the Aug. 3 Republican primary: Derby Mayor Dion Avello and Chuck Warren, a member of the Derby City Council.

Welshimer, a Democrat, has no primary opposition so far. The filing deadline is June 10.

Skelton won his second term as a council member last year. He would be term-limited out of running for the seat again in 2013.

Winning a county seat would mean a pay raise. As a Wichita City Council member, Skelton makes $34,865. He would make $83,718 as a commissioner.

Skelton owns Hendrickson Painting Co. He said he would work full-time as a commissioner, but he isn't yet certain what he would do with the painting operation if he is elected.

As a commissioner, he said, he would like to channel more citizen input into county government by setting up community advisory boards, similar to the district advisory boards in each City Council district.

As a council member, Skelton has a history of being a strong advocate of fire department service in southeast Wichita and street quality improvement.

The 5th District covers the southeast corner of Sedgwick County.