Just over two weeks before the filing deadline for city commission and school board elections, the field remains wide open ready to be filled by some concerned, qualified leaders.
Only one candidate, Fred Markham, has officially entered the race for Lawrence City Commission. Two of the three incumbents whose terms expire this year, David Penny and Bob Schumm, say they haven't made up their minds whether they will run again. Mike Rundle says it doesn't plan to seek re-election.
Two candidates, Tom Murray and incumbent Mary Loveland, have announced their intentions to run for the school board, which will have four seats up for election in April. Of the other incumbents, Harriet Schaffer has said she is still making up her mind about running, and Mary Lou Wright and Maggie Carttar have indicated they plan to retire from the board, on which they have served 12 and eight years respectively.
Whether the incumbents decide to run or not, potential candidates for either the school board or city commission shouldn't be discouraged from entering the race. There's always a need for good leaders with new ideas and the best interests of the community at heart. Having more candidates in the city races only gives the voters more choices and a better opportunity to elect the best people available.
People who run for and serve on the school board and city commission deserve the gratitude of all their patrons. Running for office is a time-consuming and sometimes expensive proposition. Serving on the school board and city commission is even more time-consuming and has few tangible rewards. The nature of the jobs often means that city and school officials are the target of unkind and critical remarks. And they too seldom are thanked for the jobs they do.
But those jobs are extremely important to Lawrence, and the people who serve in them have reason to be proud of their participation and voluntary contribution to the city. Hopefully, many of them find their offices and the accomplishments of the board or commission satisfying and rewarding.
There are many qualified, sincere community leaders in Lawrence, and we urge those people to consider sharing their talents with their community by entering the races and perhaps serving in public office.