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A new PAC with City Hall aspirations
Here’s a name to keep an eye on as you to try to handicap the upcoming City Commission elections — IMpac. No, it not the name of some exotic candidate. It’s the name of a new organization that plans to become Lawrence’s newest political action committee. Jacob Beaumont, a 24-year old political science graduate and organizer for the Democratic party, has begun sending out letters and e-mails seeking donations for the new organization, which goes by the full name of Independent Moderate Political Action Committee. The goal of the group is to support “moderate and progressive candidates that will move Lawrence and Douglas County forward in a responsible manner, independent of special interests and personal agendas.” But what constitutes a moderate when it comes to Lawrence city politics? Does a moderate support public transportation? Does a moderate support new sales taxes for streets and infrastructure? Does a moderate support tax abatements for new businesses? Beaumont, who grew up in Lawrence, didn’t have a lot of specifics to offer on what defines a moderate in Lawrence. Instead, he said it will become more obvious as the PAC assembles a slate of candidates it plans to support. Beaumont said he hopes to find three candidates to run for the three seats up for election on the five-member commission. The PAC then would do what PACs do — it would start spending money on behalf of those candidates. The goal that he has stated in fundraising letters sent out to Lawrence political types is to have $5,000 in the bank before the Jan. 27 filing deadline for the City Commission race. Beaumont, though, conceded in an interview that the new effort isn’t yet rolling in the dough. “It is the holiday season,” Beaumont said. “I’m sure it will start opening up more after the holidays.” Currently, the effort is just Beaumont and a few friends who help him stuff envelopes. The new group hasn’t yet registered as an official PAC with the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission. The group will have to do so before it starts spending money on behalf of candidates. All this activity comes several months before voters will be asked to choose commissioners. The general election will be on April 7. A primary — if needed — will be on March 3. If nothing else, all this election talk serves two purposes: It reminds us that Spring is around the corner, and it keeps the rumor mill churning. Which brings me to the question that any good rumor connoisseur asks: What have you heard?