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Archive for Thursday, February 21, 2013

HR director wants to ‘give back,’ review city’s longterm plans

February 21, 2013

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It would be easy enough to think that Scott Criqui started campaigning for the Lawrence City Commission nearly a year ago — many months before other candidates — because he wanted extra time to get to know the community.

Scott Criqui

Address: 446 Alabama St.

Age: 32

Occupation: Human resources director

Education: Undergraduate degrees in communication studies and psychology from Kansas University; masters in human resource management from Webster University.

Family: With domestic partner, James Edmonds

Sure, he wanted time to meet people and hear their ideas, but Criqui said he already has a pretty good idea of what Lawrence is all about: It’s the community that fed him for a long time.

Criqui is a Lawrence native. His mother lost four children in childbirth, his two older brothers have developmental disabilities, and the family’s father passed away when Criqui was 12.

“You could say my family had lots of struggles,” Criqui said.

It also ended up having a lot of support.

“When I was starting junior high, the community just really rallied around us,” Criqui said. “I don’t know how it happened, but when we came home there was always just lots of food. I never knew who did it. I just knew it was great because we weren’t on Social Security death benefits yet, and times were tough.”

Criqui is one of 11 candidates seeking a seat on the Lawrence City Commission.

He said there were other acts from the community that left an impression too: Teachers who provided extra help for his brothers; hospice workers who acted as male role models for Criqui while his father was dying; and numerous people and organizations who helped contribute to Criqui’s finances for college education.

“We were the poster child for putting someone in poverty through school,” Criqui said.

Although Criqui’s early filing in the race — he filed six months before the deadline — may have caught some local political observers by surprise, the fact he’s running shouldn’t, he said.

“My mom instilled in me that if you were given something, you had to give back,” Criqui said.

Equity champion

Criqui, 32, is an executive with Lawrence’s Trinity In Home Care. He is the nonprofit’s human resources director but also has been serving as the organization’s interim executive director.

Criqui’s political reputation, though, is more closely linked to his role as a member of the city’s Human Relations Commission, a board that oversees the city’s anti-discrimination laws.

In 2011, Criqui led a group that successfully lobbied the City Commission to pass an ordinance making it illegal to discriminate against people because of their transgender identity.

Criqui said he doesn’t have any particular human rights or social justice-oriented issues that he’s trying to advance as a City Commission candidate, but he said he’s long been drawn to such issues.

“The transgender issue was probably one of the easier ones I’ve been involved in,” Criqui said. “We’re lucky to live in Lawrence.”

Criqui came out as gay while attending high school in Lawrence in the 1990s. He said even in Lawrence, issues of discrimination or harassment arose.

“There was a lot of bullying in school, name-calling, pushing, fighting and property destroyed,” Criqui said. “But now that’s kind of nice because after that, running for City Commission is pretty easy. People attacking my ideas, that’s no big deal.”

Criqui thinks his experience with social justice issues and also his career in human relations will be an asset on the City Commission.

“It has taught me how to have really difficult conversations about a variety of topics, but still treat them with respect and be straightforward,” he said.

Criqui said he’s even still friends with some of the people who were most opposed to the transgender ordinance.

“Just because you disagree on an issue doesn’t mean you can’t still be very friendly,” Criqui said. “It strengthens the community if you keep listening to the other side.”

Issues

Criqui said during his door-to-door campaigning over the last year, he has heard a consistent theme from residents: The city needs to spend more time planning for its future. Criqui said he’ll push for the city to rewrite its comprehensive Horizon 2020 plan, which was developed in the 1990s.

“We need to set our priorities again,” Criqui said. “Residents have told me time and time again that we don’t have a vision for the city.”

On other issues, Criqui:

• Wants to undertake planning for a Lawrence cultural district that will allow the community to better capitalize on the city’s unique culture and history.

• Supports improving the community’s vocational-education opportunities.

• Will look for ways for the city to grow without constantly expanding its boundaries.

“I don’t think the community has to expend its footprint to be economically viable,” Criqui said. “We can grow up like downtown is, and we can look for more infill and redevelopment opportunities.”

A Feb. 26 primary will narrow the field of 11 City Commission candidates down to six. The general election — where the top three vote winners will take a seat on the commission — will be April 2.

Comments

toe 1 year, 1 month ago

Webster is a very low end school. Can you just buy your degree from them?

0

Richard Heckler 1 year, 1 month ago

Criqui - Soden - Rost - are some new faces that Lawrence needs.

Returning incumbents,former commissioners and new chamber thinkers will change nothing.

3

sunflowergirl 1 year, 1 month ago

The likes of Amyx and Chestnut have had their time on the commission. We need someone like Scott with new ideas!

4

Dan Eyler 1 year, 1 month ago

The choices are not good with the exception of Amyx and Chestnut. Unless the focus is on jobs the services Lawrence desire won't exist. Libraries, parking garages and rec centers won't get it done. These will all be an enormous drain on the existing tax base and service and no jobs. Social justices isn't handouts, and gay rights and all those distractions, it work, jobs, and lower taxes so people can take care of themselves.

1

bigtoe 1 year, 1 month ago

Last person on earth we want in our city government.

0

Kylee Manahan 1 year, 1 month ago

You need to know Scott. He is very aware of all social issues and has the interest of all people in Lawrence. Knowing how the commission has worked over the last 7 years since I returned home to take care of my Dad I have not heard any concerns towards the elderly and disabled. I I have gotten to know Scott and even worked for Trinity as a caregiver for a 97 year old woman. I now am a full time caregiver of my Father and he is working towards family members who have to give up their own jobs to take on care taking with no income be some how receiving some type of benefits.
If some of this doesn't make much sense it's because I have been ill and still take care of my Dad and am exhausted but will support Scott whole heartedly.

Good luck Scott, Lawrence NEEDS someone like you.

Kylee

5

Cant_have_it_both_ways 1 year, 1 month ago

This is the last guy we need on the commission...jez....

2

lawrenceguy40 1 year, 1 month ago

Oh boy - a perfect fit for Lawrence.

And folks are surprised when we are described as a "dark spiritual area". We may need all the prayers we can get in Lawrence after this election.

2

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