Archive for Saturday, January 11, 2003

Henry satisfied with one city term

January 11, 2003

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After four years on the Lawrence City Commission, Jim Henry wants to give someone else a chance.

Henry, whose term expires in April, will not seek re-election.

"It's a decision that I've been thinking about for months," said Henry, a retired Kansas University staff member.

Henry said he had enjoyed his brief political stint, but he looks forward to spending time in other community activities, including serving as president of the Leavenworth chapter of the Military Officers Assn., a group he revived in the last few years.

"It's been an honor and privilege the last four years," Henry said of his service on the commission. "I'll miss the feeling of making a significant, positive difference."

Henry said he would leave the commission satisfied with achieving some of his campaign goals, such as helping to start the Lawrence Public Transit System and finding a new home for the Lawrence Arts Center.

But the accomplishment he's most proud of is bringing two sides of a divisive issue together to re-evaluate the city's tax abatement policy. While mayor, Henry created a task force that worked to create the new policy.

"It's one that's positioning Lawrence for increased job opportunities," Henry said. "I think it will put us in the forefront in terms of economic development in the region and the state."

Henry joins fellow Commissioner Marty Kennedy in choosing to bow out of the 2003 commission race. Kennedy, who served one four-year term and one two-year term, last summer said he would not seek a third term.

Commissioner Mike Rundle's term also expires in April. He plans to run again, although he has not formally filed.

Four challengers already have filed: Lee Gerhard, former director of the Kansas Geological Survey; Lynn Goodell, a retired City Hall department head; Dennis Highberger, a Kansas Department of Health and Environment attorney; and Ken McRae, a Lawrence attorney.

The deadline to file is noon Jan. 21. If there are more than six candidates, a primary election Feb. 25 will pare the field to six; the general election is April 1.

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