A Kansas University employee who oversees the student-run radio station KJHK is the latest person to file for a seat on the Lawrence City Commission.
Tom Johnson, 30, said Monday that he wants to be part of helping the city figure out how to deal with what is expected to be tough economic times for the next several years.
“I was born and raised here in Lawrence, and I made a pledge to myself that if I was still in Lawrence as an adult that I would take the initiative and get involved,” Johnson said.
Johnson said he would run a campaign that promoted “growth but smart growth,” and increased cooperation between KU and the city.
“As a lifetime resident and being in tune with Kansas University, I think I could be an effective liaison,” Johnson said.
Johnson serves as the general manager and adviser for the student-run KJHK radio station. Johnson became the first candidate in the field to sign an affidavit stating that he doesn’t plan to raise nor spend any more than $500 for the primary or general elections.
Despite a low budget, Johnson said he plans on running a full-fledged campaign.
“I just know that most people don’t have that much money right now, including myself,” Johnson said.
Johnson said he doesn’t plan on using the airwaves of KJHK to promote himself in the absence of large amounts of paid advertising for his campaign. He said using the radio station as a promotional vehicle would trigger several FCC issues that he would have to deal with as general manager.
“That would make more paperwork for me than I care to think about,” Johnson said.
Johnson, who is married, becomes the fifth Lawrence resident to start a campaign for one of three seats on the City Commission. Commissioners Mike Amyx, Sue Hack and Boog Highberger all have terms that are expiring.
Hack has said she will not seek re-election. Amyx and Highberger have not made any announcements, although Highberger previously has indicated that he likely will not run again.
Lawrence residents have until Jan. 27 to file for a seat on the commission. The general election will be on April 7. A primary election, if needed, will be on March 3.