Nancy Thellman, a Presbyterian minister and leader of a citizens coalition, filed Thursday for the 2nd District seat on the Douglas County Commission.
Thellman, a Democrat who lives in Grant Township, said she had considered running for public office for sometime.
"That desire has been in me for quite awhile," she said. "It really seemed like a good fit for me and my time in life."
Her involvement in opposing an airport business park proposal and organizing a grassroots group, Citizens for Responsible Planning, increased that interest, Thellman said. That led her to became involved in local issues and she learned more about how city and county governments work, she said.
The county needs leaders who can build good working relationships among citizens, commerce and local government, Thellman said.
"I have no doubt this county commission election will be focused on critical issues such as local jobs and taxes," she said. "But there's an overarching issue we must face that's not so easily identified, and that's the fact that we're too often a community divided."
Among the issues of importance Thellman identified:
¢ Economic development. Thellman wants thoughtful strategies, especially in urban growth. There needs to be a balance between the need to grow the economy with responsibility to protect the public from risky speculation, she said.
¢ Stewardship of natural resources. Access to water and developable land will be important and contentious issues for the next county commission, as local cities examine development opportunities, Thellman said.
¢ Transportation. Building new highways and byways while struggling to maintain what we already have will be a planning challenge, she said.
Thellman was born and raised in Lawrence. She is a former registered nurse. She serves on several community boards and committees.