Archive for Saturday, April 4, 2009

Mike Gaughan picked as next Douglas County commissioner

Mike Gaughan, foreground center, hears that he was chosen to replace Douglas County Commissioner Charles Jones, who announced his resignation last month. In the background, Lawrence City Commissioner Dennis "Boog" Highberger, Gaughan's contender, sits next to Sen. Marci Francisco.

Mike Gaughan, foreground center, hears that he was chosen to replace Douglas County Commissioner Charles Jones, who announced his resignation last month. In the background, Lawrence City Commissioner Dennis "Boog" Highberger, Gaughan's contender, sits next to Sen. Marci Francisco.

April 4, 2009, 11:46 a.m. Updated April 5, 2009, 10:46 a.m.


Mike Gaughan picked as next Douglas County commissioner

A Lawrence resident and assistant to Gov. Kathleen Sebelius won a seat on the Douglas County Commission.

A group of Douglas County Democrats has selected Mike Gaughan, an aide to Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, to fill an open seat on the Douglas County Commission.

He defeated Lawrence City Commissioner Boog Highberger during a secret-ballot vote among 20 Democratic precinct committee members Saturday morning. Gaughan will replace Commissioner Charles Jones, who announced his resignation last month to focus more on his expanding job responsibilities at Kansas University.

Gaughan said the commission faces challenges of crafting a budget during tough economic times.

“Finding the balance between the short-term pressure to kick-start the economy with this desperate need for a long-term vision for our community and finding that balance is what really motives me to serve, and I’m excited about getting to work,” he said after the vote at the Lawrence Public Library.

Gaughan, 31, a KU graduate and a Lawrence resident, was the state party’s executive director from 2005 until late last year when he moved into his position as a special assistant to the governor, where he is a legislative liaison.

Highberger and Gaughan both said the other would make a good commissioner.

Highberger, who is not seeking re-election for his City Commission seat, said his six years of serving in local office would be valuable on the county board.

“I think the critical issue before you today is experience,” he said.

New commission

The other two commissioners, Nancy Thellman and Jim Flory, took office in January. Jones has served for 10 years on the commission. Thellman, the other Democrat on the commission, said the board will be able to move forward effectively.

“(Gaughan) brings a sense of public service and a strong record of service at the state level, and he’s bringing a fresh perspective that represents his district well,” she said.

State Rep. Paul Davis, a Lawrence Democrat and House minority leader, said he was not worried about the commission being short on experience.

“I have no doubt all three commissioners are up to the challenges they face, and I think the fact they are all new may be an advantage to some degree,” he said.

Gaughan said that also after Tuesday’s City Commission election the city will also have two or possibly three new faces.

“Basically this is a chance for our community to hit the reset button. We’ve had a lot of angst in this community over the years,” he said. “I think it’s time we kind of take a step back and just try to make sure we’re all on the same page, and we all start working together to move Douglas County forward.”


During his speech before the vote, Gaughan mentioned fiscal responsibility and balancing preserving green and open space with expanding infrastructure.

Highberger brought up his opposition to the 32nd Street alignment to construct completion of the southeastern leg of the South Lawrence Trafficway. Gaughan said his stance was probably very similar. He mentioned caution on the environmental impact of the Baker Wetlands, and he said he would need to examine the options for building the road.

“I need to look at them all,” Gaughan said.

He grew up in Houston, but his family is originally from Kansas. Gaughan moved to Lawrence to attend KU in 1996 and has lived here since then.

He and his wife, Julia, have a 1-year-old son, Kiernan.

County party officials called it a close vote between the Gaughan and Highberger, but they did not publicly release the tally other than declaring Gaughan the winner.

He will represent the 1st commission district, which is mostly central Lawrence, and it’s the only district contained entirely in the city.

Party chairman Ed Quick said there are several precinct committee vacancies in the district. Up to 40 people could have participated in the vote, but only 23 people ran for the positions last August. Mike and Julia Gaughan are precinct members, so they did get to vote.

Quick said the party would notify the governor’s office Monday so that Gaughan’s appointment could become official soon.

The governor is responsible for making the final appointment, based on the decision of the precinct committee members. Gaughan will serve until the term expires in 2010, when he could run for re-election.


Bob_Keeshan 8 years, 10 months ago

And logrithmic once again demonstrates why comments on a news story are so easily abused.

I believe logrithmic molests squirrels, and I have just as much supporting evidence for that statement as logrithmic has for the first comment.

Harpo 8 years, 10 months ago

So nobody really knows Gaughan's position on the SLT? Seems like something that would have been important to know before the vote.

Save the Squirrels!

Brian Lewis-Jones 8 years, 10 months ago


Gaughan talks a bit about the SLT in the videoset above.

Jonathan Becker 8 years, 10 months ago

Preserve the SLT -- best slogan in DG

Gaughan's district does not include Eudora, so why should he pay attention to the dogs of Eudory?

Tricky Gnosis 8 years, 10 months ago

I'm sure boog is bummed to have missed an opportunity to raise taxes and lecture us about global warming. The rest of the progressive lawrence folks will be ok though. The reid/pelosi leadership will make sure those noble goals don't die out.

dontcallmedan 8 years, 10 months ago

Oneeye-are you the homemade jerky of which you speak?

gil_bavel 8 years, 10 months ago

I know Mike Gaughan. I played soccer with Mike Gaughan. You, logrithmic, are no Mike Gaughan, and have no Frickin' clue what you're talking about.

He's a Lawrence resident, has been an important member of the Democratic party for years, and knows this area very well. He will be very good at the job.

Do some research before you go spouting off about that which you know nothing.

bearded_gnome 8 years, 10 months ago

Meanwhile, the county can't even come up with money to prevent cuts to Douglas County Healthcare budgets - even though 50 million are without insurance and many with insurance also use the facility.

The stupidity really knows no bounds….

---Log's wisdom(?)

fifty million, all right here in Douglas County? indeed the stupidity does know no bounds when it comes to Logrithmic's postings. he/she is an example of why we can't get anything done in this community, perminent protestor class, protesting anything!

free the squirrels!

fair trade squirrels!

squirrel hits for Jesus.

Lori Nation 8 years, 10 months ago

I agree with the person I'm Eudora!!! I have 4 kids in the Lawrence school district and it's horrible!! Hope we raise our mill levy so no more school fees. Then we could have kids more respectable like the Eudora kids. And our kids could have a better education. Keep up the good work Eudora!!!

justforfun 8 years, 10 months ago

"I agree with the person I'm Eudora!!!" Iristh 1232-

Did your kids help you with that sentence? Cuz if your going to complain about education ya might want to make sure you have one.

bearded_gnome 8 years, 10 months ago

logrithmic (Anonymous) says…

When did I say there were 50 million in Douglas County? Thanks for putting words in my mouth moron.

wow, logie you're really off the track this time! I didn't put words in your mouth! all I did was quote your own statement!


None2, you're right, we obviously need to have lpd pulling posters over and giving them BUI's, "blogging under the influence!" trouble is, logie may be multisubstance impaired it seems.

if Gaughan is proSLT, then power to him I say!

and as to evidence that Logrithmic molests squirrels, we actually have plenty of evidence in his/her wacky behavior posting on these threads. thank you and God bless you, but my God is real, compared to Logie's. my God can eat Logie's god, by the way.

brandx 8 years, 10 months ago

Well, another example of our "democratic" system at work. Both parties have played this game many times before, i.e. leave the office before the term is up, let the local committee pick the successor, who then becomes the "incumbent" with the advantage in the next general election. This time a whopping 20 people got to pick a member for a commission that is supposed to represent the interests of 100,000 in the county. What a joke. And who did we get? Another wet-behind-the-ears political animal with no real experience doing anything outside of the b...s... world of politics. For the history of this game, check out the D. A. office when Republicans had it - 3 successive D.A.s leaving before their terms were up; the Troy Findley - Paul Davis exchange, when Davis probably didn't even live in the district he was "chosen" to represent. The real rub is that these people with little or no experience, much less any age under their belts, are making a career out of telling the rest of us how to live our lives. Now, we even have one in the White House.

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