Lawrence City Commission speaks out against violence at the Capitol, those who voted not to certify election results

photo by: City of Lawrence

Members of the Lawrence City Commission are pictured during their meeting Jan. 12, 2021.

Lawrence city leaders on Tuesday strongly condemned the recent violence at the U.S. Capitol and the votes of Lawrence’s congressional delegation not to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

At the Lawrence City Commission’s regular meeting, Commissioner Lisa Larsen expressed her anger about the storming of the Capitol last week by a pro-Donald Trump mob and the subsequent actions of some elected officials. Larsen said the insurrection at the Capitol must be answered with the fullest weight of the law and that the president also must be held accountable.

“The calls for unity and not accountability by some should be answered with the unity to impeach and convict Donald J. Trump and expel him from ever having the privilege of holding a federally elected office,” Larsen said. “It is only then that we can begin the hard work to unify our nation and address the ills that have driven us into this deep division.”

Larsen also proposed, and her fellow commissioners agreed, that the city should draft a letter to the elected officials in Lawrence’s congressional delegation who voted against certifying Biden’s victory in the Electoral College. Larsen said that when their votes mattered the most, those officials had “failed miserably.”

“To our elected officials that voted to overturn the electoral votes, even after you watched the uprising, the destruction at our Capitol, and the call for murdering our vice president and congressional leaders, I say shame on you,” Larsen said. “You took an oath to uphold our Constitution and are beholden to protect us from attacks against our government.”

As the Journal-World previously reported, Republicans Sen. Roger Marshall and U.S. Rep. Jake LaTurner both voted in effect to overturn the presidential election results by objecting to the certification of the Electoral College results. Marshall and LaTurner made their votes despite no evidence that the election results were invalid and after the mob, spurred by Trump and unfounded claims of voter fraud, breached the Capitol and delayed the certification of Biden’s win.

Other commissioners agreed with sending a letter and said that Larsen should work with City Manager Craig Owens to draft it. The letter will be brought back for consideration at a future meeting.

Commissioner Stuart Boley said he appreciated Larsen’s comments, and he also spoke about the importance of the oath elected officials take to uphold the Constitution. Boley said that political opponents should not be enemies, but that criminals who would usurp the power of the voters are.

“It’s a very serious time and these are very serious events,” Boley said. “Violence has been used in this country to try to disenfranchise our voters.”

Commissioner Jennifer Ananda, in addition to condemning the insurrection and votes against certifying the election, said such actions sought to invalidate the work the city has been doing to advance equity and combat racism. She urged residents to take care of themselves and each other.

“We also have to take care of and support each other as we move through this,” Ananda said.

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