Recently returned Lawrence resident and businessman Shawn Pearson files to run for Lawrence City Commission

photo by: Contributed photo

Recently returned Lawrence resident and businessman Shawn Pearson has filed for election to the Lawrence City Commission.

After previously living in Lawrence from 1990 to 1993 while attending the University of Kansas, Pearson moved back to Lawrence from Minneapolis in February. He is originally from Shawnee. Regarding why he wanted to run for the commission, Pearson said his grandfather was a council member in Brooklyn Park, Minn., and the pride and commitment his grandfather had to that community had influenced him.

“I’m of the same mindset,” Pearson said. “This is the last place I’ll live. Obviously I already love the town and that’s why I came back here, but I’m in a stage in my life where I have time to devote to things like this.”

Pearson received his bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in psychology from KU in 1993. Pearson is currently vice president of strategy at U.S. Bank, and he said that although his home office remains in Minneapolis, he decided to move back to Lawrence after his job allowed him to work remotely. Pearson has previously been a volunteer for the Special Olympics and the Big Brothers Big Sisters mentorship program.

Important issues for him are police reform, the environment and quality of life issues. Lawrence is in the midst of a review of how its police department operates, and Pearson said he thought police reform would be the most important action the city would take in the coming term.

“There does need to be police reform, and it needs to be done in a very smart fashion,” Pearson said.

Regarding the environment, Pearson said his concerns included ensuring business accountability, clean water and clean air and addressing climate change. He thinks having strong environmental guidelines and devoting resources, time and energy to environmental issues will be key.

Pearson said the high quality of life in Lawrence was what led him back to the city, and providing a high quality of life for everyone who lives in the community, regardless of background, was important to him. He said that would include addressing issues related to mental health, homelessness, and equality and race.

“How do we address things like that that aren’t addressed right now?” Pearson said.

The terms of Commissioners Lisa Larsen, Stuart Boley and Jennifer Ananda are expiring this year. Larsen and Boley have filed for reelection, and Ananda said she would not seek another term. In addition to Pearson, fellow newcomers Ma’Ko’Quah Jones, Bart Littlejohn, Amber Sellers, Gillian Rogers Shaw, Chris Flowers and Milton Scott have filed to run for election.

The filing deadline for the City Commission race was Tuesday. Because the number of candidates who have filed is now more than two times the number of open seats, a primary election will take place on Aug. 3. The general election will be on Nov. 2.


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