Nancy Hiebert announced this morning that she will not seek a third term on the Douglas County Commission.
"Eight years is a long time. I do not plan to seek another term this fall," Mrs. Hiebert said.
A "very major factor" in her decision was the demand placed on her time by the business she and her husband, Dr. John B. Hiebert, own, Preventive Cardiology, PA, Lawrence. Mrs. Hiebert is chief operating officer of the medical practice.
"I always want to make sure I can make a contribution fully," she said. "I think I have been able to do that, and I think I still can do that" for the remainder of her term.
"It's going to be busy. I don't plan to be in a lame duck period at this point," she said.
One issue she will continue to support strongly in her last seven months in office is the circumferential road system, which includes the south Lawrence trafficway and Eastern Parkway.
"This circumferential network will not ruin Lawrence. On the contrary, Lawrence may be strangled without it," she said. "If the past 20 years have taught us anything, it should be that we must actively manage our growth to ensure its quality rather than pretend that growth will not happen."
THE LAWRENCE Democrat, who was mentioned as a possible running mate for Tom Docking in the 1986 gubernatorial race, said she has no plans to seek other public office.
"Because of the time constraints, I wouldn't even consider or be interested in looking at something at the state level," she said. "The future is always there and always open, but that's something I'm not thinking about at all right now."
Two Republicans are stepping forward to vie for the 1st District commission seat, which lies within Lawrence city limits.
Ellis Hayden, a Republican who has mounted two unsuccessful campaigns for the Lawrence City Commission, filed his candidacy Monday morning.
Mark Buhler, sales manager at Stephens Real Estate, is expected to announce his candidacy at a press conference at 10 a.m. Wednesday in the county commission chambers, on the second floor of the Douglas County Courthouse, 11th and Massachusetts.
Buhler now serves on the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission.
A primary election is cheduled for Aug. 7.
MRS. HIEBERT was first elected to the county commission in November 1982, defeating Republican Hank Booth. She ran unopposed in 1986, although a write-in campaign for Agnes T. Frog, a "threatened" northern crawfish frog, garnered a fourth of the votes. A group calling itself the Committee to Elect a True Amphibian mounted the write-in campaign to protest the south Lawrence trafficway project.
Since her election eight years ago, Mrs. Hiebert said, she feels that county government has made dramatic strides toward being more open and accountable to the public.
"Today we expect that our commission meetings will have an agenda, published in advance; that we will purchase our goods and services at the most competitive price; that the county will have a hiring and promotion process that is fair and available to all on an equitable basis; and that the county's $20 million business will have professional management. It is good to know that these policies have become routine, even taken for granted," she said.
MRS. HIEBERT also cited the commission's efforts to promote cooperation between the county and its cities and townships, particularly in the development of business parks.
"I think basically we were able to accomplish a lot, and I would underline the `we' part. . . . You never do anything by yourself," she said.
Mike Amyx, commission chairman, said Mrs. Hiebert will be missed on the commission.
"She's done a lot of hard work for the county in her 7 years. She's someone who truly cares about the county," he said. "I'll hate to see her go."
Commissioner Louie McElhaney said he has enjoyed a good working relationship with Mrs. Hiebert.
"I thought we might be more at odds than we had been. (But) we seem to be real comfortable working together," he said. "I can't think of any big differences."
McElhaney said that he has appreciated being able to work with, and learn from, two commissioners who are experienced in the workings of local government.