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Former Lawrence Mayor Boog Highberger planning to run for Statehouse seat; 650 collegiate runners to be in city this weekend
It looks like Boog will be back.
Those of you who have followed Lawrence politics know who I'm talking about. Dennis "Boog" Highberger is a former Lawrence city commissioner and mayor, and now it appears likely that he'll make a run to become a state legislator.
Highberger told me last night that he is planning to soon file for the state House of Representatives seat currently held by Lawrence lawmaker Paul Davis. Davis, of course, is leaving the seat to run for governor.
Highberger will run as a Democrat in a district — House District 46 — that includes quite a few Democrats. The race already has attracted at least one other Democratic candidate, Abbie Hodgson, who was a former staff member with Govs. Kathleen Sebelius and Mark Parkinson and now works in the communications department at KU. We'll see how big of a field the race may draw. If two Democrats do file, there would be a primary election in August. The general election is in November.
Highberger served six years on the Lawrence City Commission in the 2000s, including a stint as mayor. Highberger is an attorney by trade. He previously was a staff attorney for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, and now is a partner in his own private practice in downtown Lawrence.
The deadline for candidates to file for the race is June 2.
In other news and notes from around town:
• We go from talking about running for political office to just plain running. About 650 collegiate cross country runners will be in Lawrence this weekend for the NAIA Men and Women's Cross Country National Championships.
The event will be held at the esteemed Rim Rock Farm cross country course just north of Lawrence. This is the first time the event has been held in Lawrence, and event organizers said the Rim Rock Farm course, which was designed by former KU track coaching legend Bob Timmons, played a major role in landing the competition.
Officials with the the Lawrence Convention and Visitors Bureau are projecting the event will provide about $200,000 in economic impact to the city's hotels, restaurants, shops and other businesses that will cater to the athletes and crowds. It will be interesting to watch the impact because my understanding is that the Lawrence Sport Corp. has a multiyear contract to host the event, although I'm not sure whether it will be held in Lawrence every year or just in selected years.
The event is open to the public. At 10:30 a.m. Saturday, the men's 8,000 meter race will start. The women's 5,000 meter race will begin at 11:45 a.m. Rim Rock Farm is at 2276 Burnett Lane, which is just west of Wellman Road, north of U.S. Highway 59/24.
• I still get people asking me what new business is heading into the building being constructed next to Taco Bell on 23rd Street. As we previously have reported, a Chipotle restaurant is slated for the space. I still don't have an official word on when the restaurant may open, but signs point to it being soon. Lawrence city commissioners at their meeting tonight are set to approve a drinking establishment license for the restaurant at 1420 W. 23rd St. Let the Mexican food wars soon begin.