Most candidates for city commission run only after they've spent a few years establishing themselves professionally and personally in the community.
Zachary Bassin, 23, figures he had better run now before he gets too busy. Bassin grew up in Kansas City, Kan. But he graduated in May from Kansas University and continues to live in Lawrence while attending law school at Washburn University in Topeka.
"I figured while I'm here, I've got some extra time while I'm younger," Bassin said in January when he filed for office. "Before I get out there working every day, I'd like to help out with the community."
Ask Bassin about issues facing the city commission, though, and he doesn't sound much different from some of the more candidates running for office: Lawrence can do a better job managing growth. Tax abatements should be used to attract only the best companies. The city's new fireworks ban should be revisited.
"Leadership in managing the growth in Lawrence is the issue for this campaign," he said. "While faced with a tough situation the current leadership has done an adequate job, it is now time for a change.
"If the growth is not only managed but led by the City's leadership then the problems of trying to keep services up with development will be answered," he said.
Bassin advocates higher development taxes to offset both the city's budget shortfall and the costs of growth. He does not favor cutting city services in response to the shortfall.
"Taxes can be raised but on certain areas like creating higher development taxes to offset the cost imposed upon the city by the same new development," he said. "Then the current tax structure can be reworked to fill in the expected shortfall areas."
And he generally favors the use of tax abatements.
"Tax abatements can be a great tool for a city when properly used," he said. "The companies that should be getting these abatements from the city should provide full time jobs with benefits to prevent Lawrence from being a commuter city."
But he saves his strongest words for the city's recent bans on the private use of fireworks during the July 4 holiday.
"The ban on fireworks is a step in the wrong direction for Lawrence," he said. "The private use of fireworks in the City is a tradition that the citizens have come to embrace. I would not only be for revisiting this issue but also for repealing it."