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High school student runs against teacher for job as mayor

February 25, 1997

HESSTON, Kan. (AP) _ John Waltner’s lessons about public service could cost him his job.

The three-term Democratic mayor is being challenged in today’s primary by one of his students.

Hesston High School senior Christopher Friesen, 18, said he decided to run while taking Waltner’s government class this semester.

``He has always encouraged us to stand up for what we believe,″ said Friesen, a registered Republican.

Voters will choose today among Waltner, Friesen and a third candidate, Chip DuFriend. The top two vote-getters will move on to April’s general election.

Waltner, mayor of this central Kansas town of 3,000 since Friesen was in the first grade, had never been challenged as an incumbent until this year.

``I really haven’t campaigned as hard as I could have,″ Waltner said. ``I might well pay a price for that.″

But Waltner said the campaign won’t affect Friesen’s grade.

``There isn’t a bit of personal animosity between us,″ Waltner said. ``But I want to beat him.″

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