A longtime area businessman and former planning commissioner will seek a seat on the Douglas County Commission.
Frank Male, a co-owner of Lawrence Landscape, filed the necessary paperwork Tuesday to run against incumbent Nancy Thellman for the 2nd District County Commission seat, which represents parts of Lawrence and most of eastern Douglas County, including Eudora and Baldwin City.
“A lot of my reasons for running have to do with economic development and jobs,” said Male, who lives in rural Eudora. “My vision is to have a range of jobs and opportunity for everyone.”
Male, a Republican, served two terms on the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission from 1993 to 2000, and said he thinks the County Commission can do more to plan for economic development.
“I think what businesses always crave is certainty,” Male, 49, said. “The less uncertainty that is out there, the more comfortable they are in making decisions. I think the County Commission can help with that.”
Male said he’ll push for an economic development strategy that continues to look for partnerships with Kansas University on the bioscience front but also looks to create blue-collar jobs. Male said part of that plan will involve working to create more vocational education options in Douglas County.
“Everybody thinks every child is college-bound, and that is not always the case,” Male said. “What we need more of is basic training opportunities. I don’t know if we do that with Johnson County Community College, the school district, the university or how we accomplish that. But it could be the sort of thing that makes us a more attractive place for businesses.”
Voters in November will fill two spots on the Douglas County Commission. County Commissioner Jim Flory’s seat in the 3rd District also is up for election. Both Thellman, a Democrat, and Flory, a Republican, have filed for re-election. Candidates have until noon Friday to file. If needed, a primary election will be Aug. 7. The general election is Nov. 6.