Archive for Thursday, December 13, 2012

City Commissioner Hugh Carter takes job with Lawrence Chamber of Commerce; announces he won’t seek re-election in April

December 13, 2012


The Lawrence Chamber of Commerce has a new point person for dealing with area lawmakers, and the Lawrence City Commission has one less candidate for re-election.

Lawrence City Commissioner Hugh Carter was named Thursday as the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce’s vice president of external affairs.

Carter also announced on Thursday that he won’t seek re-election to the City Commission when his term expires in April.

“As much as I have enjoyed my experience on the commission, one of the things I like about this job is that it will be a continuation of some of the more important efforts that are under way in the community,” Carter said.

In his new role, Carter will assist the chamber’s president and CEO in strategic planning for the organization, and will serve as the chamber’s chief liaison with the City Commission and other area governments. He’ll also represent the chamber at various external events and activities.

“In Hugh Carter, we have identified an individual with a strong dose of energy and drive,” Greg Williams, president and CEO of the chamber, said in a statement. “He is someone with a passion for Lawrence and an authentic excitement about this opportunity.”

Carter starts his new job on Feb. 1. Carter said he’ll finish out his term on the commission, which ends in early April. But Carter said he’ll recuse himself from any issues that create a conflict of interest with his new job, although he doesn’t expect that to be many. The city does provide funding for the chamber’s economic development marketing program, but the City Commission won’t be asked to set that funding amount until this summer, after Carter’s term expires.

Carter — who previously was a financial planner and before that was a manager in the hotel and hospitality industry — was elected to the commission in 2011.

During his two-year term, Carter said he is pleased that he’s helped raise awareness of the needs for new facilities and equipment for the police department, and for spearheading the creation of a new board that will focus on attracting retirees to the Douglas County economy.

Carter said he thinks his time as a city commissioner has helped prepare him for the role of bringing the chamber and the community together on issues.

“I try to connect people and bring people together to find the common denominator that we all can support,” Carter said. “That can be really difficult, but it is something that I enjoy.”

Thus far, two candidates have filed for seats on the Lawrence City Commission: Rob Chestnut, a former Lawrence mayor and a chief financial officer for a Topeka-based company; and Scott Criqui, a human relations commissioner for the city and an executive with a Lawrence-based home health care provider.

In addition to Carter, Commissioners Mike Amyx and Aron Cromwell both have terms expiring in April. Neither has made an official announcement about his intention. The filing deadline for the race is noon on Jan. 22.


Catalano 5 years, 6 months ago

Chad: Is this a new position that the Chamber created? If not, who's filling it currently? Thanks.

Chad Lawhorn 5 years, 6 months ago

I checked with folks at the chamber, and they report it is a new position. Thanks.

irvan moore 5 years, 6 months ago

let's see if he recuses himself from the rec center discussion and votes, that is a coflict with his new job

Phil Minkin 5 years, 6 months ago

Gee, I thought he has been working for them for the 2 years.

irvan moore 5 years, 6 months ago

i'm pretty sure the chamber supports tourism and development which i think are pretty important parts of the rec center plan

jhawkinsf 5 years, 6 months ago

An opening, huh? One-eye, Merrill, Bozo, etc., here's your chance.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 6 months ago

What's your point? And why aren't you throwing your hat in the ring?

jhawkinsf 5 years, 6 months ago

My point? You, others, have been very critical of the decisions coming out of city hall. Here is a golden opportunity for you to present your views in the court of public opinion. Let it be known what your opinions are and let the people decide. And with turnouts traditionally being so low, you would only need to convince a relatively few number of voters.

You, others, advocate for decisions to be placed on the ballot, as you do not trust the currently elected officials. If you want us to trust your ideas, place them out there so that we can fairly evaluate them. If you garner a majority, more power to you. Let your ideas prevail. But if you are not voted in, let those who were voted in decide the issues for which they were charged.

You do trust the voters, don't you, Bozo?

As for why I don't run, well, I have been far less critical of these commissioners and far more willing to let them do the job for which they were elected. At election time, they will get my report card.

Run, Forrest, er, I mean Bozo, run.

KiferGhost 5 years, 6 months ago

If we elected commissioners by districts your point might be valid but as long as it is a race that requires the person with the most backing, ie money from donors, it is pretty difficult to pull off. When the "leadership Lawrence" crowd is using mailing list from groups like the Boy Scouts and all their other connections and fund a candidate to flood the town with their yardsigns and advertising it isn't exactly a fair race now days for anyone not towing the chamber line.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 6 months ago

I'm sorry you think so little of voters. Do you vote according to yard signs and mailing lists? I'm betting your answer is no. You make intelligent decisions based on whatever criteria you choose. Why do you assume others are incapable of making intelligent decisions based on whatever criteria they choose. Why must they be influenced by yard signs, but not you?

The last city election brought out a whopping 16% turnout. Even if you're correct that yard signs influence elections, so would knocking on a few neighbor's doors. It's not a huge threshold to overcome.

KiferGhost 5 years, 6 months ago

I suppose people invest in all the advertising because they are stupid and didn't realize people are actually voting on issues. Yes, you are right, the percentage of people who vote is pathetic but there is something to be said for name recognition and there wouldn't be yard signs if that wasn't true.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 6 months ago

Wasn't it in Lecompton where a write in candidate won an election just last month? Didn't Romney and all the super PACs that supported him far outspend Obama and his super PACs?

Name recognition is great. But in the end, they count votes, not name recognition. And with so few voters actually taking the time to vote, I stand by my challenge that if people really want their ideas put before the voters, this is a perfect opportunity. Everything else is just an excuse.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 6 months ago

It be would have been much more efficient to just tell me to shut up.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 6 months ago

Not at all, Bozo. While we disagree on a variety of topics, I would much rather you put your ideas forward for the voters to decide. I believe in a vigorous debate. And I believe in the collective wisdom of the people. The more people that vote, the more I trust their judgement. It's when so few vote that I become skeptical. To attract more voters, we need someone on the radical left and the radical right. We need strong progressives and conservatives. We need advocates for business and the poor. And of course, we need moderates with common sense. If you truly believe that the city commission only represents the interests of a small segment of the community, then it's their counterpart that is needed the most. And if you think your position is representative of that counterpoint, then we need you, or people like you to run. Not that I would vote for you. And I do think that the radical ideas of both the left and right are equally deserving of being trounced. But not to silence them. No, just so that the moderates with common sense will prevail.

Shelley Bock 5 years, 6 months ago

Human relations commission is an unpaid, volunteer position.

KiferGhost 5 years, 6 months ago

Yeah, is there any of these clowns actually producting something like Lawrnece did in the old days? The only person I can think of who is has been starting a new business from the ground up without handouts from the chamber and doing well is the veggie burger gal. How refreshing to finally see someone producing a real product instead of land speculating like the original land thieves that settled Lawrence.

oklahoma 5 years, 6 months ago

Great Commissioner and will be great at the Chamber.

Michelle Fales 5 years, 6 months ago

Congratulations Hugh!!! Happy for my fellow Leadership Lawrence classmate. Very well deserved!

KiferGhost 5 years, 6 months ago

Yeah, join the family of chamber "workers" like Fales and Hack. We need more producers and need more people like that guy who actually donated his own money to help kids in this town back in the '50-'60's. We can be pretty sure we won't see anything like that from the chamber buddies.

Michelle Fales 5 years, 6 months ago

FYI...KiferGhost, I do not work for the Chamber. I am a banker in my "paid" job. However if you would like the statistics on the number of Leadership Lawrence Alumni who volunteer in Douglas County in "unpaid" positions and donate not only many hours but many dollars, feel free to contact me at I am very proud to be a part of this awesome group that promotes not only leadership but also the importance of civic involvement.

KiferGhost 5 years, 6 months ago

Leadership? Is that what you call it? Did you buddy Sue ever fess up to how much she had invested in the company she was cooking up sweet deals for one of the chambercrats favorite companies? Oh and is it great leadership to create a "bioscience incubator" that is providing housing for corporate giants who can probably afford to pay their full cost of rent? Just another tax subsidized chamber driven idiotploy. Now the sportsplex? Look at ol Hilary, unlike the banking crowd she is really producing something to sell. We don't need more bankers in this town or chambercrats that have been outspending everyone when it comes to election time.

Noweigh 5 years, 6 months ago

the nay-saying by the do-nothings on these blogposts are always so predictable. Regardless of your politics, those on the commission spend long hours in countless study sessions, meetings, etc. for their term, let alone the campaign time, etc. Instead of sitting in front of their computer whining all day, at least they're making the real effort.

Hugh Carter is a bright, hardworking contributor to this community. He wanted to improve things so he actually did something about it...he ran for office, and won. Now he's moving to another important position that stands to benefit the entire community once again. Thanks Hugh for staying involved.

KiferGhost 5 years, 6 months ago

With so many hours of diligent hard work how can he possibly not see the 3rd or 4th major scam Fritzel is walking the city into again? Maybe if they were smarter they wouldn't have to spend hours figuring this stuff out.

kansasredlegs 5 years, 6 months ago

Finally, a decision I can support. Now for a nice, superdooper holiday gift, take Cromwell with you.

Catalano 5 years, 6 months ago

Wow, the Cadré Lawrence crowd sure came out in force today. Good job, guys (and gals).

Richard Heckler 5 years, 6 months ago

If we had politicians who would follow growth guidelines Lawrence taxpayers would be money ahead with a lot more expendable cash.

Carter is the local lobbyist now. Not a new idea cuz this happens in the beltway as a matter of routine.

The chamber has money for a lobbyist position indicates the chamber doesn't need our $400,000 tax dollars any longer. Carter will have access to lawmakers by way of the backdoor. So much for transparency.

Taxes and user fees aka taxes have increased under the watch of Mr. Carter. Under the watch of this commission for that matter.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 6 months ago

Rob Chestnut with his knowledge in Supply Side Economics will very likely create more job losses within the city. City workers beware. I believe Mr. Chestnut was working with Sam Brownback as well.

repaste 5 years, 6 months ago

Only know Rob a little, but I believe him to be way above Mr. Brownback. I hope anyway. I think became aware he was lead along/used in his first term and that he might be more effective in a second.

msezdsit 5 years, 6 months ago

So he just made it official he was working for the chamber of commerce right wing republican agenda in his capacity as commissioner.

Enoughsaid 5 years, 6 months ago

Chad, just curious what will his salary and benefits be? Also what are the full benefits/pay for a city commissioner.

Gary Rexroad 5 years, 6 months ago

Sincere congratulations to Hugh Carter and to Greg Williams. To Mr. Carter for a well-deserved opportunity and to Mr. Williams for making a great hire.

I hate losing Mr. Carter from the City Commission because he is always such a well-reasoned and thoughtful contributor to Lawrence. I know however that your skills and passion for this great community will not go wasted at the Chamber. The direction Mr. Williams has set and the energy on the board created by very strong leadership paints a great future for our community. This is an exciting time be in Lawrence!!!

5 years, 6 months ago

i've always found Hugh to be open-minded and willing to listen, so I think having him in a mediator type of role is a good fit for him. sure the timing could be better, no doubt about that. maybe if we paid the city commissioners a salary that accurately reflected their workload that would help, times are tough for everyone! and i think moving to a city commissioner / district type of representation is a great idea.

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