Commissioner Lisa Larsen files for reelection to Lawrence City Commission
photo by: Mike Yoder
Commissioner Lisa Larsen has filed for reelection to the Lawrence City Commission.
Larsen was appointed by the commission to fill a vacancy in 2015 and ran to keep the seat in 2017. She finished with a significant lead over the other winning candidates and served as mayor in 2019.
Regarding why she wants to continue her service on the commission, Larsen said that she thought that the city was on a good path in terms of governance and that City Manager Craig Owens was taking the city in a good direction. She said she wanted to support that progress.
“I want to be there to continue with the work that we’ve been doing,” Larsen said.
Larsen mentioned some specific efforts and issues she wanted to help see through. Those include remediation of environmental contamination at the former Farmland Industries fertilizer plant, which the city owns and is legally responsible for cleaning up. Larsen is a retired environmental geologist who previously ran her own company, and she said her background put her in a unique position to continue to shepherd the multimillion-dollar remediation project, both from an environmental and a financial perspective.
Two other issues that Larsen said would be key in the upcoming term were affordable housing and stormwater management.
Lawrence voters approved a special sales tax to fund affordable housing efforts in 2017, and Larsen said that the city’s Affordable Housing Advisory Board had been working hard to recommend projects that met the goals identified in the city’s housing market study. But Larsen also said she wanted to see more focus on distributing affordable housing projects more evenly throughout the city.
“We still are not seeing that, and I think we need to push to make sure that happens across the community and is not just concentrated in one area,” Larsen said.
Larsen also said stormwater management was an important issue that affected a lot of Lawrence residents. Some funding is planned in the coming years for stormwater infrastructure in the Jayhawk basin — which includes runoff from Mount Oread down toward the Kansas River — and Larsen said issues with flooding in Old West Lawrence and other neighborhoods had to be addressed.
Larsen said her goal has been to listen to the viewpoints of residents, and she hoped they would continue to support her for another term.
“My goal has always been and will continue to be to strive for a practical and balanced approach to governing,” Larsen said.
Larsen’s term on the commission is one of three expiring this year. The others are those of commissioners Stuart Boley and Jennifer Ananda. Larsen is the first candidate to file for the election.
The filing deadline for the City Commission race is noon on June 1. Candidates will have an Aug. 3 primary, if needed, and the general election will be on Nov. 2. Primaries will only be scheduled if the number of candidates who file is more than three times the number of open seats.