Editor's note: This is the sixth in a nine-part series of stories on candidates for the Lawrence City Commission.
It was a strange thing when Carey Maynard-Moody's two grandchildren were born.
"I was as much joyed as I was worried about their future," said Maynard-Moody, one of nine candidates seeking a seat on the Lawrence City Commission.
No, it wasn't that she was worried about having little ones around again. She had been a teacher and school social worker most of her adult life, so that prospect thrilled her.
Instead, it was the big picture that concerned her. As a local and state leader in the Sierra Club, she was convinced that the planet was going to become a less friendly place to live, unless something changed. She still feels that way.
"I think we have really hit a wall," Maynard-Moody said. "We have been moving very fast and not paying attention to what we're losing and what we're compromising."
And she's not just talking globally. She said Lawrence is part of the problem, too, in part because local government isn't doing enough to set an example and to ensure that government operations are done in environmentally friendly ways.
"I see the big picture," Maynard-Moody said. "Lawrence is home to many of us, but what people must remember is that Lawrence has a home. Our home is on the planet Earth. The planet has become unstable, and it is everybody's responsibility to pay attention to that and to work to stop the trend."
In the woods
Maynard-Moody - who is the vice chairwoman of the local chapter of the Sierra Club, but previously has been its chairwoman and has served on the organization's state board - didn't become active in the environmental movement until the 1990s when global warming became a hot-button issue.
Maynard-Moody grew up in the small community of Red Hook, N.Y., in the Hudson River Valley. She spent most summers outdoors with her grandfather.
"I've always felt more comfortable outside than inside," Maynard-Moody said. "The outside was always more interesting than the inside. Plus, I had to sit still inside, and I never did that very well. But what I think it comes down to is that for me, the human-made world doesn't hold the mystery of the natural world."
She said her career has shaped her worldview and caused her to worry about what children will inherit.
Name: Carey Maynard-Moody.Age: 62.Address: 1645 Barker Ave.Profession: Retired school social worker and owner of a home-based flower business. Education: Undergraduate degree in literature from Bennington College, Bennington, Vt., 1966; master's in education from Temple University, Philadelphia, 1972; master's in social work from KU, 1989. Family: Husband, Steven, and three adult children. Past political experience: First run for political office.
Maynard-Moody, 62, retired three years ago as a social worker with the Northeast Kansas Education Service Center, a cooperative that works with special-needs children in Jefferson County. She went back to school in the late 1980s to become certified to work with special-needs children, in part because she is a mother to one.
"There is something about their simplicity," Maynard-Moody said. "They are out there. They are really not pretending. And they are really in your face. I love all that."
Maynard-Moody said she was impressed with most of the ideas presented by the PlaceMakers consulting group, a city-hired team of planners who last week made recommendations on how the city could grow by using the concept of Traditional Neighborhood Design.
The group talked about neighborhoods where residents walked to the corner store, where people were on their front porches and knew each other.
"That was my life growing up," Maynard-Moody said. "My children want that, and they got a little bit of it, but they didn't have it as good as I had it. I realized that the way I grew up allowed kids to get into the world sooner. Kids need to feel that they can step out into the world safely. Instead, they are all fortressed right now."
Maynard-Moody said she has a couple of principles that she thinks the city should grow by, that will respect the environment and create that sense of community that she thinks is important.
"You should be able to live in a community without owning a car," Maynard-Moody said. "I think that should be everyone's right. And you should be able to walk to a nature area to refuel your soul because cities are harsh."
On other issues, Maynard-Moody said:
l She thinks it would be worth the community investing $20 million to $30 million in a new library.
"Our library has silently been brought to its knees," she said. "I'm so sorry that it has gone so long without the resources it deserves."
Carey Maynard-Moody discusses her goals as a city comissioner.
l She wants to use the former Farmland Industries property as a "green energy" business park. She said she believes Lawrence could become a magnet for companies that research and create new green technologies.
l City commissioners often approve projects simply because key constituents have lobbied them to do so.
"The job of government is to follow the rules," she said. "One of the challenges of our city government is that there's been too much wiggle room. There is just far too much influence."
The primary will be Feb. 27, when voters will narrow the field from nine candidates to six candidates. Voters will elect candidates to fill three at-large seats on the five-member City Commission when they go to the polls in the general election April 3.
Other candidates in the race are James Bush, a Lawrence minister; Jake Davis, a local musician and data entry operator; Rob Chestnut, chief financial officer for Allen Press; Mike Dever, owner of a Lawrence-based environmental consulting firm; Sam Fields, a Lawrence bail bondsman; Commissioner Boog Highberger, an attorney for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment; Michael Limburg, a Lawrence forklift operator; and Commissioner David Schauner, general counsel of the Kansas National Education Association.
City commission race 2007
City commission race
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- Chamber Vision & Election 2007
- Retail stance divides field (03-27-07)
- Dever, Chestnut still hold lead in campaign finance (03-27-07)
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- Outlooks on retail issues differ (03-27-07)
- Candidate survey explores potential projects(03-23-07)
- More on the 2007 City Commission race Â»