Commissioner Matthew Herbert announces he will not seek reelection

In this file photo from August 2015, Lawrence City Commissioner Matthew Herbert speaks during a meeting at City Hall.

Commissioner Matthew Herbert will not seek reelection, opening up the Lawrence City Commission to have at least two newcomers next year.

Herbert, who has a 7-year-old daughter, said his decision was mainly family-oriented. He said part of his consideration had to do with his recent career change to working full-time as a property manager, which he said has brought odd and unpredictable hours.

“My new career, there’s just no predictability at all,” Herbert said. “And it’s getting to be where, obviously, I have to prioritize the work I do with the commission and running a small business, and it just got to the point where I was sacrificing a ton of time with my family.”

Previously, Herbert was a high school teacher who most recently taught part-time at Lawrence High School. Herbert resigned from teaching at the end of last school year and has since been focusing full-time on his property management business, Renaissance Management, which he runs with his wife, Rachael Sudlow. Herbert made the announcement that he would not run on Monday, which he said is also Sudlow’s birthday.

Herbert was elected to the commission in 2015 along with fellow newcomers Leslie Soden and Stuart Boley. Herbert finished third in both the 2015 and 2017 elections, meaning that he was granted a two-year term each time.

Herbert, who previously taught high school government, also said that he’s always believed in term limits. He said that, while he would have loved to have been elected to serve a four-year term at some point, one of the primary reasons he initially ran was because he thought the commission had too many long-term members and that in a progressive community like Lawrence there should be more members cycling through.

“Thinking about whether I was going to run for this third term or not, I kind of thought back to some of the reasons I first ran,” Herbert said. “And it got to be, in my mind, a little bit hypocritical of me if I would continue to serve over and over.”

Herbert said that in the four years he’s been on the commission, he thinks the governing body was able to shift some of the focus away from project-oriented growth to more community-oriented justice. He said one such example has been the city’s commitment to addressing the affordable housing shortage in Lawrence.

So far, seven candidates have filed for the three open seats on the Lawrence City Commission. The filing deadline for the election is noon on June 3, and the primary election will be Aug. 6.


More about the 2019 City Commission election

The seats of commissioners Stuart Boley, Leslie Soden and Matthew Herbert are up for reelection this year. Soden has announced that she will not be running.

The seven candidates so far to file for the 2019 City Commission election are: veteran and nonprofit board member Dustin Stumblingbear, attorney and nonprofit board member Brad Finkeldei, Kansas Army National Guard officer and planning commissioner Rob Sands, neighborhood leader and city board member Ken Easthouse, social advocate and community board member Joey Hentzler, retired auditor and community volunteer Boley and neighborhood leader and community board member Courtney Shipley.

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