Archive for Monday, January 14, 2013

Leader of local food bank files for seat on Lawrence City Commission

January 14, 2013


The director of a local food bank has filed for a seat on the Lawrence City Commission and plans to be a City Hall advocate for people in need.

Jeremy Farmer, executive director of Lawrence-based Just Food, filed paperwork Monday to run for one of three seats up for election on the five-member city commission.

“We have a lot of folks walk through our doors here,” Farmer said of the food bank. “I have spent a lot of time talking with them, and it really helps you understand that what happens at the local level matters.”

Farmer said he’ll push for the community to do more with technical education and for “innovative” solutions in the area of economic development.

“Half of our volunteers at the food bank are clients of ours, and they work their butts off,” Farmer said. “They’re not just people who are trying to drain the system. If we can get them some training to go along with their strong work ethic, they’ll have the chance to work in Lawrence, and that is what this community needs.”

Farmer, 29, was born and raised in Lawrence. Since July 2011, he’s been the executive director of Just Food, which provides food to people in need and also serves as a food bank for other food pantries in the area.

Farmer said his work with the non-profit agency has provided him good experience in trying to bring different groups to the table to work together.

“I’m passionate about building consensus among groups,” Farmer said. “I want to bring everyone to the table and talk about the issues so we can figure out the best way forward.”

He said if community leaders can do more consensus building it will help with the overall environment in Lawrence.

“I really want people to see Lawrence as this huge family that is inclusive and welcoming,” Farmer said. “I don’t want them feeling they are walking into a fight.”

With Farmer’s filing, there are now five candidates in the race: Rob Chestnut, a former Lawrence mayor and a chief financial officer for a Topeka publishing company; Scott Criqui, a member of the city’s Human Relations Commission and an executive with a Lawrence-based home health care company; Terry Riordan, a Lawrence physician and a former Lawrence-Douglas County Planning commissioner; and Michael Rost, an attorney for a Topeka insurance company.

Three seats are up for election. City Commissioner Mike Amyx has not yet filed for re-election, but he has indicated he will seek another term. Commissioner Aron Cromwell also has a term that is expiring, but he has not yet indicated that he plans to seek re-election.

City Commissioner Hugh Carter already has announced he won’t seek re-election, but instead will focus on his new job with the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce.

Candidates have until noon Jan. 22 to file. If seven or more candidates file, there will be a primary election on Feb. 26 to narrow the field to six candidates. The general election will be on April 2.


Leslie Swearingen 1 year, 3 months ago

Wilbur, it is possible for someone to have grown up and lived here their entire lives and yet have zero knowledge of the complexities of local government. Each section of the city has its own identity, its own problems and own lifestyle that it wants to improve on.

I would like to see more opportunities for the really poor kids of Lawrence to have places to get together and play sports, places where they can run around and just be kids.

I have gone to the food pantry at the end of the month and let me tell you when you get that bag of groceries it is a great load off your shoulders. I have been hungry and it is a bad feeling.

Jeremy, I think you should makes comments on here because as we all go though life we encounter good and bad comments about what we said, how we looked, etc. It is just part of life. I am very impressed by the fact that you have replied in detail and covered everything. Some are not going to be satisfied even if you wrote a dissertation with footnotes and a bibliography.

I think the give and take is a good idea. Keep in mind the debates between Lincoln and Douglas. I bet they got heated at times. The papers were very harsh in assessing Lincoln, yet somehow he managed not to faint when someone called him a name.

You rock, Jeremy!


Jeremy Farmer 1 year, 3 months ago


Why don't you want to pay for recycling? Is recycling not important to you? Or do you just not want government telling you what you can and can't do? I can understand the sides of each....but to really address your concerns and find common ground and a way forward, I can't do that with you being adamant about something without explaining why.

And I did grow up here. But I moved away, and have only been back a year and a half...


oneeye_wilbur 1 year, 3 months ago

Again, I do not want to be forced to pay for recycling. What part of "choice" does one not understand.? And for cripes sake, quit talking about studying stuff.. You have grown up here, there is nothing to study!


Jeremy Farmer 1 year, 3 months ago


I apologize for not getting to your message. It was an easy one to reply to the one that I did. I had a reply type up last night that was long and comprehensive, but unfortunately I clicked on something I shouldn't have and lost the whole thing. I will be replying to your posts above...but let me make a few things very clear for you.

  1. I have been advised by people on both sides to stay away from the blogs. Anytime you give people anonymous authority to comment without putting their name to it, it gives risk. And the fact that I don't know everything and am still learning about many issues puts me at a disadvantage because it's bad PR for me to look stupid on these forums.

  2. I want to build consensus and bridges with people. Most everyone else avoids forums because they don't want to get bashed. I understand that sometimes people will disagree with where I stand, but compromise is very important. And if we're ever going to get anywhere, we will need to compromise and move forward together.

Sorry that I lost your vote. I should have come on and communicated, but today was a pretty busy day and I just didn't get it done. I apologize.

Last, I'll say that I make my own decisions. I take into consideration all things that I'm told, but at the end of the day, my integrity is very important to me. If I say I want to listen and don't...then I'm not different than anyone else. I am not willing to make that decision because it contradicts what I am about.

Responses coming above. Let's see if I can not click on the wrong links. I would say to you to check out my website at or on facebook at I've been posting some blogs and video blogs for people to get a better understanding of who I am and why I'm running.

cheers, jeremy


Bob Forer 1 year, 3 months ago

Well, Jeremy returned to this message board to respond to msezdsi, but ignored my comments which he had specifically solicited. I am not surprised. I am sure he was advised to stay away.

Seems like a very nice, pleasant, and well-intended young man. But I think it is obvious that he has already been co-opted by the Chamber, business, and developer crowd. They are very good at doing that. And of course, I am sure he feels his job would be in jeopardy if he spoke outside the "official box."

Merely another shill for the ruling class dressed in "liberal clothes." Nothing new here. Lawrence has always has our share of those types.

Didn't take very long to lose my vote, but then again, I am a little particular.

It's sad when Mike Amyx is the only candidate who appears willing to buck the millionaire developers.


oneeye_wilbur 1 year, 3 months ago

How can you support the 3,25 a month for recycling but yet have clients making 8,25 an hour, the math does not add up. I do not want to pay the city anymore money to recycle. There are other choices. please dip into someone else's wallet.

wish you luck in the campaign, but Wilbur smells more fees and intrusion from city hall.


msezdsit 1 year, 3 months ago

“We have a lot of folks walk through our doors here,”

Yep, but the me me me and me only party thinks all those people are lazy and just stealing their money.


bearded_gnome 1 year, 3 months ago

Jeremy, I'm glad you're willing to address issueshere. I also agree that often incentives are quite useful and important, if properly thought out.

I want to bring up a more dull issue: that bill from city utility billing. our city keeps jacking it up, raising the cost of water, storm water, trash, and nw maybe mandating additional payment for recycling too. all the while, some money has apparently in the past flowed out of there into the general fund like runof.

some of us have very limited incomesand wish that the city would be more frugal, as we see the city wasting money. and worse, we see the city not spending money on necessities like proper maintenance of water lines and sewers that are far too old/beyond their replacement dates while it's going on to spend and spend on the attractive things like a new rec center/KU village.

you have any comments?


bearded_gnome 1 year, 3 months ago

observant's logic RE Jeremy and UW is like looking looking into the wrong end of the telescope and then complaining that the people don't look like they're the right size!

UW is sorta like the ugly giant that strongarms other charities, then Observant complains that they knuckle under.


Jeremy Farmer 1 year, 3 months ago


I'm sorry if you think I'm being insincere. My parents taught me that when someone says something nice about you, you tell them thank you. I have, and always will value kindness and respect.


observant 1 year, 3 months ago

Well, still don't have an opinion on him, but the pure love fest posted here and his smoozing for every one of these posts makes me question his qualifications. Has anyone here. other than me, yet posted, questioning what makes him so special?


paisley 1 year, 3 months ago

Mr. Farmer...I do not know you at all but from what I see seem like a down to earth, good ol' boy that just has high standards and a real grasp on just what "commuinity" means. City Hall needs someone like you to point their noses in the right directions. I suspect, should you get elected that you will face battles because you will probably go against the grain of their current non thinking ways. I wish you all the best. Bigger, better more is not always the way to go. Working with what you have and maximizing it's potential is smart. Good luck to you sir.


blue73harley 1 year, 3 months ago

Wow. I just checked in to see what the usual negative Nancys had to say today. Shocked, shocked, I tell you, to see such positive comments! Mr. Farmer must be a pretty good guy.


seriouscat 1 year, 3 months ago

FINALLY some smile inducing fantastic news! Can't wait to see you elected Mr Farmer. God bless!


jack22 1 year, 3 months ago

Jeremy I'm glad to see that you're getting involved in local politics in this way. We are in desperate need of someone like you who will bring new and independent thinking to our city commission. We need someone who can put an end to the cronyism that has crept into our local system of representative government. If you get elected I wonder how that might work. I guess while you're in the room and there is an ongoing vote to unanimously support tax give aways and other "incentives" for one of our top three local developers the other commissioners will just have to sit on their hands and hide their rubber stamps while they act like they're listening to all sides of the debate before making their decisions. Good luck, you've got my vote, too.


Gandalf 1 year, 3 months ago

You should have no problem getting elected as you seem to epitomize the ideal of a public servant. I just wonder how our business leaders will try to demonize you. Good luck and you will certainly have my vote.


ljreader 1 year, 3 months ago

As long as you're known for giving things away for free, you're a shoe-in. Redistribute that food, son. Good luck!


gatekeeper 1 year, 3 months ago

You've got my vote! Signed up on your website - feel free to put signs in my yard (corner lot) and if I have time closer to election, would be willing to go door to door in my neighborhood to help. Very happy to finally see someone in the race that would represent ALL in Lawrence, not just those living west of Iowa.

Best of luck to you and thank you and all at Just Food for your hard work to help those in need in Lawrence!


colicole81 1 year, 3 months ago

I am absolutely thrilled to hear that Jeremy is running! Finally someone who is more interested in doing what's right and less interested in making the wealthy happy! I've known Jeremy for close to twenty years. He is honest, clear, compassionate, hardworking, motivational and dedicated to making a difference! There is absolutely no better person for the job. I am proud to sign my name as one one of your many supporters! Good luck! - Nichole Weatherwax-Feurt


Deb Stavin 1 year, 3 months ago

Jeremy Farmer is a rare bird. He has a big heart and a big brain to match. Jeremy, you have my vote.


observant 1 year, 3 months ago

The fact that he's tied to UW via Just Foods, and the way UW is treating other non-profit groups raises questions. Tend to think he is tied too closely to Chamber thru UW and we don't need another councilman tied to Chamber, too many of those already.


cheeseburger 1 year, 3 months ago

Jeremy is a young, energetic, enthusiastic, fair, and principled individual who will do a fine job. He's got my vote!


motomom 1 year, 3 months ago

how refreshing and wonderful! sure do appreciate your care and love of the community, jeremy. ya got my vote, too, friend. :O)


bearded_gnome 1 year, 3 months ago

Mr. Farmer, thanks for your response! impressed I am. it appears accessible you are, by your post above. our city has need of fresh vision.

I do read westrns, though my favorite western writer is more obscure. and almost daily I enjoy such music as you listed.

On the campaign from, I don't have any favors to repay. I don't play games like that. If someone wants to deal under the table and in a manner that is not forthright and transparent, it won't turn out good for them. My integrity is not for sale.

---stick to this, even when it may seem difficult or uncertain..

and thank you for coming up here and posting.


Jeremy Farmer 1 year, 3 months ago

I am extremely grateful for the support that so many of you have lent here. There are many ways that you will be able to connect with me during this campaign:

  1. Facebook: visit - like the page, leave a comment. We will be posting daily updates from various vantage points of the campaign.

  2. Website: - there's an interesting story behind this. I'd encourage you to check it out.

  3. Twitter: - we will be updating this as often as facebook if you're the twitter type.

  4. Youtube: - we will be posting videos here as I talk about various things that I will be committed to during this campaign and if I should be fortunate enough to get elected.

  5. Email : info (at) - if all social media isn't for you, please send me an email.

  6. Snail mail: Box 1986, Lawrence, KS 66044

I cannot wait to continue this dialogue with you as we go throughout this process. I will meet with anyone on your time schedule, because you are vitally important to this community.

Committed to serving you, Jeremy


Rachael Sudlow 1 year, 3 months ago

I've known Jeremy for many years & he's truly an honest, caring individual. Cant think of a better person to further serve our community.


bearded_gnome 1 year, 3 months ago

Mr. Farmer thanks for entering this race! being a candidate isn't easy and has a lot of risk. I appreciate your care for our community.


bearded_gnome 1 year, 3 months ago

interesting, and worth considering.

I have been impressed with his obvious sincerity and desire to help.
as I wrote under Rost's article, this candidate's youth might also be a plus because he does not have a lot of favors to repay in his political history.


Jonathan Fox 1 year, 3 months ago

Do all the other candidates get a full article about them on here? Or is the LJW endorsing this candidate?


Matthew Herbert 1 year, 3 months ago

I've known Jeremy since he was 13 years old. He comes from extraordinarily humble beginnings, is unbelievably kind hearted and highly passionate about what he does. He is the farthest thing this town has seen from a stereotypical "politician" in a long time, and that's why he has my vote.


Bob Forer 1 year, 3 months ago

Good deal. At least there is one candidate who is not a shill for the millionaire developers.


vermont 1 year, 3 months ago

Could not think of a better person for this...

Takes the competition up a notch.


Amy Heeter 1 year, 3 months ago

Why not, just food is jacked up. Harvesters had disolved partnership because of the united way.


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