Longtime Lawrence City Commissioner Mike Amyx has announced he will not run for re-election.
Amyx, who has been a fixture in local politics since the 1980s, said the decision was difficult, but he thinks the timing is right.
“I have had discussions with a number of people about things, and for me, it’s one of timing,” Amyx said. “I’ve served my time and it’s truly been an honor and privilege to be able to do that.”
Amyx, owner of Amyx Barber Shop, began his political career in 1983 and has served six terms as mayor. In total, he has served nearly 20 years on the City Commission. He was also a member of the Douglas County Commission for five years, serving as commission chair from 1989 to 1991.
Amyx, a lifelong resident of Lawrence, is the only member of the City Commission who is not serving his first term. He said that consideration was a tough part of his decision, but he thinks his fellow commissioners have grown a lot in the years they’ve been seated together.
“They’ve been involved with so many decisions over the last four years,” Amyx said. “This commission is of age to be able to take on just about anything.”
Taking on more may also be in the cards for Amyx, though he said as of right now he does not have definite plans apart from continuing to operate his downtown barber shop.
“Right now I’m going to be working in my business and that’s important,” Amyx said. “If the opportunity to serve elsewhere comes along, maybe that’s a possibility. But we’ll just see.”
The terms of Commissioners Amyx, Lisa Larsen and Matthew Herbert are expiring this year. Amyx will be the only commissioner not seeking re-election. In addition to Herbert and Larsen, three other people have filed for election to the commission: Bassem Chahine, Dustin Stumblingbear and Jennifer Ananda.
Amyx said that part of the reason he wanted to announce that he would not seek re-election is because he realizes it may influence others’ decision to run.
“Part of that decision’s got to be who all is going to run as incumbents, so if my intent at this point is not to run I need to get that out so people can decide,” Amyx said.
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 be scheduled only if the number of candidates who file is more than two times the number of open seats.
Amyx said he has been honored to serve on so many commissions and that the hardest part is knowing that he won’t be part of some local decisions come next year.
“I’ve spent the vast part of my adult life as an elected official locally,” Amyx said. “The toughest part is saying, OK, you need to make a decision about the future.”