Commissioner Lisa Larsen files for City Commission election

Lawrence City Commissioner Lisa Larsen listens to public comment at a meeting, April 26, 2016, at City Hall.

Commissioner Lisa Larsen has filed for election to the Lawrence City Commission.

Larsen, who was appointed to her first term as commissioner in 2015, said she thinks that the goals the commission set as part of its strategic plan put the city on a great course — one that she wants to continue to be a part of.

“I want to make sure that the goals that we have set for ourselves come to fruition, that they actually come to be,” Larsen said. “We’re a good community, but I think that we all realize that we can be even better.”

The strategic plan includes seven factors, and the commission recently set eight short-term priorities. Those priorities include specific projects such as East Ninth Street and high-speed fiber, as well as developing plans for comprehensive facility maintenance, implementation of priority-based budgeting and long-term financial strategy.

Larsen said if elected, she wants to focus on the goals set in the strategic plan. In addition to the projects, Larsen said the financial-related priorities are key to the city spending its money in a priority-based manner and becoming more fiscally sound.

“We have to; it just makes sense,” Larsen said. “We need to evaluate our needs and prioritize them based on set criteria and based on data. This will give us a better opportunity to allocate our funding based on needs versus wants.”

Larsen has worked for more than 30 years as an environmental geologist; she sold her environmental consulting firm in 2014. She began her term on the commission in October 2015, following the resignation of former Mayor Jeremy Farmer amid embezzlement allegations related to his position with a local food pantry. Larsen was among a pool of 14 applicants for the position, and was elected to the post by the commission.

Larsen’s term on the commission is one of three expiring this year. The others are those of commissioners Mike Amyx and Matthew Herbert. Larsen is the third candidate to file for the election, following filings by Herbert and Lawrence businessman Bassem Chahine.

The filing deadline for the City Commission race is noon on June 1. Candidates will have an Aug. 1 primary, if needed, and the general election will be on Nov. 7. Primaries will only be scheduled if the number of candidates who file is more than three times the number of open seats.