Planning for the impact of growth is a prime concern of the most recent candidate to enter a Douglas County Commission race.
A Lawrence teacher and rural preservation activist has declared her candidacy for the 3rd District seat on the Douglas County Commission.
Beverly Worster, who lives west of Lawrence in Clinton Township, said she plans to file by petition before the end of the month and will run as a Democrat.
Worster, who is president of the Douglas County Preservation Alliance, has been active in the preservation effort for the Haskell-Baker Wetlands and chaired the rural subcommittee of the Horizon 2020 Land-Use Task Force.
She also coordinated the restoration effort at the 125-year-old Barber School, west of Lawrence.
``I have been very involved in things I believe are important,'' she said.
Worster said she would treat service on the commission as a full-time job and would take a leave of absence from her teaching position at Lawrence High School.
She is the second candidate to enter the race for the 3rd District seat. Former Douglas County Undersheriff Don Dalquest, a Republican, already has filed and would present primary opposition for incumbent Louie McElhaney -- if he decides to seek a third term.
Worster said she was compelled to run out of concern that the county wasn't planning adequately for growth or taking the necessary steps to coordinate the interests and resources of the smaller cities and school districts in the county.
She proposes forming an informal council that would provide a forum for discussing the issues that face the county and Eudora, Baldwin and Lecompton.
``We need to bring those communities into the process, and that's not going to happen unless we get to know one another better,'' she said.
Worster also is concerned that the county does not take the necessary steps to protect environmental resources, including prime agricultural land, or to make use of human resources.
``We need an open door so that people in the community who have expertise will come to commissioners and offer that,'' she said. ``An ongoing dialogue between commissioners and the community would prevent the kind of polarization I've seen in the county over the past three years.''