University of Kansas student Christian Lyche has filed for election to the Lawrence City Commission.
Lyche, 19, said he decided to run for the commission because he thinks the city needs to refocus on economic growth.
“I love Lawrence, and I really think that the focus is getting away from bringing jobs and businesses to Lawrence, and I think I can help bring that back,” Lyche said. “I think that there are a lot of problems that come about when there aren’t enough jobs, everything from crime to a lack of things to do.”
Originally from San Diego, Lyche and his family moved to Lawrence 10 years ago when his father began his doctoral studies in psychology at KU. Lyche attended West Middle School and graduated from Free State High School in 2016. Lyche is a sophomore at KU and double majoring in marketing and information systems.
Lyche said one thing he’d like to see is more entertainment options that appeal to younger generations and are big enough to increase local tourism. When considering job growth, Lyche said he’d like to increase the city’s business or industrial-related zoning.
“We’ve used up just about all of the land that’s been set aside, so whether it’s increasing city limits or just rezoning industrial areas, I think we could add more businesses that otherwise wouldn’t be able to fit here,” Lyche said.
Regarding his age, Lyche said he wanted to encourage other young people to run. He also said he thinks his regular trips to Norway to visit family and his experiences at KU provide a valuable perspective.
“I think that just being at KU I get to see a mix of all the different kinds of people that come through Lawrence,” Lyche said. “Lawrence is kind of a melting pot as a college town, and I think that I would be able to speak to the needs of a lot of different kinds of people.”
Lyche said another issue he thinks needs attention is mental health. If elected, he said he plans to donate his salary to mental health care.
“I think it’s really a growing problem throughout the United States,” Lyche said. “At my time at Free State and in Lawrence, I’ve seen a lot of people struggle with it.”
The terms of commissioners Lisa Larsen, Mike Amyx and Matthew Herbert are expiring this year. Lyche is the eighth candidate to file for the election, following filings by Herbert, Larsen, Bassem Chahine, Dustin Stumblingbear, Jennifer Ananda, Ken Easthouse and Mike Anderson.
The filing deadline for the City Commission race was noon Thursday. An Aug. 1 primary will narrow the field to six candidates.
Candidates filing for 2017 Lawrence City Commission electionJune 1 — Christian Lyche
May 30 — Mike Anderson
May 26 — Ken Easthouse
May 15 — Jennifer Ananda
March 31 — Dustin Stumblingbear
March 8 — Commissioner Lisa Larsen
Feb. 28 — Bassem Chahine
Feb. 23 — Commissioner Matthew Herbert
Related: Commissioner Mike Amyx announces he will not run for re-election (May 18)
Related: Seventh candidate filing forces Aug. 1 primary election (May 30)