Commissioner Brad Finkeldei files for reelection to the Lawrence City Commission
Commissioner Brad Finkeldei has filed for reelection to the Lawrence City Commission.
Finkeldei, an attorney who has also served on various local social service, economic development and planning boards over the years, was elected to his first term on the commission in 2019. Finkeldei said the city has come through the COVID-19 pandemic and is making progress, and he wants to continue that.
“We have a lot of work left to do on things like the development code, the housing plan and the strategic plan,” he said. “Those are items I want to work towards, moving forward.”
Finkeldei said a key issue is expanding the city’s housing stock at all price points and implementing the housing-first strategy, which focuses on getting those experiencing homelessness quickly housed. He said it would take multiple strategies.
“We have a lot of work to do on annexing and building new houses, getting the development code up and running to get more density, as well as working on our affordable housing projects,” Finkeldei said. “We have the 850 houses we’ve approved, but we have a long way to go before they’re actually being occupied.”
Finkeldei also spoke to the importance of city infrastructure and supporting job-creation opportunities. Regarding infrastructure, he said the city has invested a lot to improve its water, storm water and sewer infrastructure, and those and other infrastructure projects are very important to the functioning of the city. He said future conversations will include expansions to local fire and medical service to support the growing city.
To create a strong workforce, Finkeldei said the city needs to continue to work to fully utilize the students educated by the Lawrence school district, Peaslee Tech, the University of Kansas and Haskell Indian Nations University. He said especially with the future Panasonic plant in De Soto and related jobs, the city must prepare to capitalize. He said wages also played into the city’s affordable housing issue.
“Job growth is kind of the backbone of continuing to grow the city,” he said.
Finkeldei’s term on the commission is one of three expiring this year. The others are those of commissioners Amber Sellers and Courtney Shipley. Sellers, Dustin Stumblingbear, Mike Dever and John Martin have also filed for election.
The filing deadline for the City Commission race is noon on June 1. Candidates will have an Aug. 1 primary, if needed, and the general election will be on Nov. 7. Primaries will be scheduled only if the number of candidates who file is more than two times the number of open seats.