Parks and Rec board chair and former neighborhood leader Bart Littlejohn files to run for Lawrence City Commission seat
photo by: Contributed photo
Parks and Recreation Advisory Board chair and former neighborhood leader Bart Littlejohn has filed for election to the Lawrence City Commission.
Littlejohn, who is the former chair of the Pinckney Neighborhood Association, said he saw work on the commission as an extension of his role on the neighborhood board, where he said he tried to be an advocate for people who are typically excluded from the decision-making process.
“I wanted to serve on the commission because I think I can provide a voice that is missing,” Littlejohn said. “I want to continue to advocate for hard-working folks here who feel like they are not being heard.”
Littlejohn, who is from Overland Park, initially moved to Lawrence in 1995 to attend the University of Kansas, where he received his bachelor’s degree in political science. He is currently the marketing manager for Pinnacle Technology Inc.
Littlejohn said important issues for him are equity, housing and economic development. When it comes to equity, he said the pandemic and current conditions have shown that there is still work to do. He said equity should be the community’s baseline goal, and everyone should have health; quality, healthy food; and a safe place to live.
Regarding housing, he said there are three things the city needs to address: affordability, availability and homelessness. Littlejohn said the city needs to take into account all potential solutions and partnerships when it comes to addressing the issue, as well as support for social services.
Littlejohn said he believes economic development should apply to everyone, including those already living here, those graduating from college, and front-line workers. He said the city needs to rebalance its efforts and make sure its policies and initiatives address the needs of those currently living in the city.
“In economic development I know we look outward at bringing companies and people in, but honestly I think we shouldn’t lose sight of the folks who are here right now,” Littlejohn said.
Littlejohn was previously involved in Junior Achievement and the Lawrence St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee and, in addition to his role on the Parks and Rec board, is a member of the Douglas County Community Health Plan Steering Committee.
The terms of commissioners Lisa Larsen, Stuart Boley and Jennifer Ananda are expiring this year. Larsen and Boley have filed for reelection and Ananda announced last week she would not seek another term. In addition to Littlejohn, fellow newcomer Ma’Ko’Quah Jones has filed for 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 be scheduled only if the number of candidates who file is more than two times the number of open seats.