Ken Adkinson wants to bring a rural voice to land-planning in Douglas County, a process he fears has become too city-driven.
Adkinson, a member of the Eudora Planning and Zoning Commission, filed this week as a Democrat seeking to represent the 2nd District on the Douglas County Commission.
Adkinson, 65, is retired after spending 35 years in the agricultural industry, including 13 years as an owner and manager of Mid-States Ag Chem Inc., a distributor of insecticides, herbicides and other crop-protection products in Eudora.
A Eudora planning commissioner since 2000, Adkinson wants to be sure rural voices don't get lost as communities such as Lawrence, Eudora and Baldwin City continue to grow.
"I don't really have any axes to grind. I just want to see us do some more work on the land use," said Adkinson, who lives a half-mile from the Johnson County line. "The county and the city need to work closer together, instead of trying to regulate the three-mile area around it. The people who live in the county should be governed by the county."
In the Aug. 5 primary, Adkinson will face Democrat Nancy Thellman, a Presbyterian minister and founder of a planning group opposed to a proposed industrial park near Lawrence Municipal Airport. The winner advances to the Nov. 4 general election for a chance to take the commission seat being vacated by Chairman Bob Johnson, who is not seeking re-election.
In the Republican primary, Grant Eichhorn, of rural Lawrence, goes up against David L. Brown, of rural Baldwin City. Eichhorn, owner of Lawrence-based Rueschhoff Locksmiths and Security Systems, is a member of the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission. Brown recently retired after 32 years with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office.
The 2nd District covers North Lawrence and much of southeast Lawrence, plus the bulk of southeastern Douglas County, including the cities of Eudora and Baldwin City.