Human Relations Commission Chair and family health policy specialist Amber Sellers files to run for Lawrence City Commission
photo by: contributed photo
Human Relations Commission Chair and family health policy specialist Amber Sellers has filed for election to the Lawrence City Commission.
Sellers, who previously lived in Lawrence for about 10 years before relocating for work, returned to Lawrence in 2019. She said that when she first visited Lawrence she knew she wanted to someday make it her permanent home, and she thinks her skills and passion could be a catalyst for change.
“I feel like I’m in a position to help the community reimagine what leadership looks like, what infrastructure looks like, what public health and safety look like,” Sellers said.
Sellers, who is from Wichita, initially moved to Lawrence in 1999 to attend the University of Kansas, where she received her bachelor’s degree in sports science. She later received a master’s degree in health education from KU and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She is currently a regulation specialist with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment Bureau of Family Health, where she works on public policy affecting women and children.
Sellers said important issues for her are affordable housing, economic development and human services. Regarding housing, she said the city needed to develop a citywide plan that’s inclusive of the whole community to address the gap in availability of affordable, quality homes.
“I’m a state employee that has a reasonably good paying job, but I can’t afford a home here in Lawrence,” Sellers said.
When it comes to economic development, Sellers said the city needed to focus on retraining and repositioning people in the community who can help meet employment needs. She said that would include working with community partners such as The Dwayne Peaslee Technical Training Center and the Lawrence Workforce Center so the city is well positioned for jobs with livable wages.
“I want to look at different strategies where we could address economic development from the lens of the workforce,” Sellers said.
Also in regard to economic development, Sellers said, the city needs to focus on what she called “human infrastructure,” such as affordable child care. She said the city needed to be able to understand what types of support the city can provide for small business owners, economic development and the community at large.
In addition to serving as chair of the city’s Human Relations Commission, Sellers is a member of the local League of Women Voters. The Human Relations Commission works to eliminate discrimination in employment, public accommodations and housing by accepting, investigating, ruling upon and resolving discrimination complaints in Lawrence, according to the city’s website.
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 Sellers, fellow newcomers Ma’Ko’Quah Jones, Bart Littlejohn, Shawn Pearson and Gillian Rogers Shaw have filed to run for election.
The filing deadline for the City Commission race is noon on June 1. 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.