Hays native Mason Ruder has filed for a seat on the city commission.
There are three open seats — those of James Meier, Ron Mellick and Henry Schwaller.
Ruder is an Environmental Associate with the Ellis County Environmental/Planning & Zoning Office.
He was as born and raised in Hays, attending both public and private schools (Roosevelt Elementary and Kennedy Middle School), and graduating in 2010 from Thomas More Prep-Marian High School. Ruder attended Fort Hays State University before moving to Kansas City to explore some new ideas.
In 2017, he married his wife, Tori Mai, and they have a 2-month old daughter named Ryleigh. Tori is a licensed daycare provider in Hays.
The family are members of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish and Ruder is a member of the Knights of Columbus.
He is also an elected precinct committeeman for the Ellis County Republican Party.
In a news release, Ruder explained why he is running for Hays City Commission.
“My family and friends were a huge encouragement in my decision to run. The final push I needed was the birth of my daughter. I’m running to serve the community that has done so much for my family and me. I want to do what I can to make sure Hays continues to be a place that my daughter can be proud of and one day raise her own family here.
“One of my main goals is to help figure out a solution to the ‘brain drain’ happening with our younger generation. I experienced it firsthand when I left Hays for Kansas City and realized the grass isn’t always greener. I missed Hays and not just my family. This town is special. I missed running into people I knew at the store, out to eat, and at various events. I realized Hays IS my extended family.
“I moved back and started finding ways to get settled here like my parents and grandparents before me. I got married and found a job with Ellis County where I can directly help the area that has been so good to me.
“With my county office job, I get to see how the city of Hays and Ellis County can work together.
“What I would like to do is find ways to get the college and high school graduates to stay here in Hays and give them a place to utilize the skills and knowledge attained at Hays High School, TMP, FHSU, and NCK-Tech.
“We have a community that is perfect for raising a family.
“We need to create an environment that is friendly to businesses and sustainable to back up these students, retain the people who currently work here, and potentially draw in others.
“I also want to help take care of the population that has been here through it all. We have an aging population and we should work together to help get them the resources they need to finish out their years in a community they helped build and sustain.
“Hays is on the right track and the city of Hays employees do a great job at providing the research and information needed to make informed decisions.
“I want to provide input on what we can do in the future and maintain the programs and systems in place that make me so proud to live in Hays, America.”
The filing deadline for the Nov. 5 election is June 3 at noon in the Ellis County Clerk’s office, 718 Main, Hays.
Incumbents Mellick and Schwaller have filed for re-election.