McPherson attorney Torrance Parkins is proud of his McPherson roots and returned home to continue his law career. Now, he gets to take his dedication to the community a step further, as he was named the new McPherson County Attorney Tuesday night during a special convention of the McPherson County Republican Party.
“I'm very pleased with the outcome,” Parkins said. “I'm looking forward to working with law enforcement and all the citizens of McPherson County to make sure McPherson stays the safe community that I grew up in.”
Parkins was chosen by the 58 elected county GOP precinct members over fellow candidates Justin Bravi and interim County Attorney Jamie Karasek. All were vying to replace David Page, who resigned his post in June to take up a federal judgeship with the Social Security Administration.
Parkins is ready to hit the ground running in his new role and made sure one of his first moves was to retain Karasek.
“I really appreciate her willingness to do that,” Parkins said. “To continue some of the institutional memory and knowledge so we don't have to reinvent the wheel. The second thing we need to look at are the cases both filed and unfiled and create a good system for moving forward for making sure the right cases are filed and justice is served as swiftly as possible.”
Page gave a nominating speech on behalf of Karasek Tuesday, but feels that the County Attorney's office won't suffer any with the election of Parkins, especially as Karasek has indicated she will be staying with the office in her current capacity.
“I have no doubt that, when [Parkins] has questions, Jamie is going to be able to help him out,” Page said. “I have no concerns about the office whatsoever.”
Prior to his appointment to the county post, Parkins worked for Wise and Reber in McPherson for a time before opening his own firm. He has also served as the Marquette City Prosecutor and Attorney.
Part of his plan for the office is to go hard after drug offenders. Parkins wants to send the message that drug users and dealers are not safe in McPherson County.
“I've seen the effects in some other counties,” Parkins said. “Especially rural cities have been torn apart by production of meth and other hard drugs. Meth is obviously very popular in rural areas. So that is a very big push my office will be going after, those types of hard drugs and their distribution.”
He also indicated he plans to petition the McPheson County Commission to make the County Attorney's position full time in an effort to help deal with the case load.
Parkins was elected with 27 of the 58 precinct member votes. Of those 58, 52 members were present, with a few votes cast by proxy. County Republican party chair Dave Bohnenblust was pleased with that turnout.
“This group of precinct people usually turns out really well,” Bohnenblust said. “But this was better than expected, especially coming up on the July Fourth holiday. We have good precinct people.”
The election of Parkins to the county attorney post isn't final until Governor Sam Brownback approves it, which Bohnenblust estimates will be Monday.
Parkins will serve in the post until Jan. 9, 2017, though he did indicate during the election that he intends to run for re-election in 2016.