Community volunteer and former public housing administrator Milton Scott files to run for Lawrence City Commission
photo by: Contributed
Community volunteer and former public housing administrator Milton Scott has filed for election to the Lawrence City Commission.
Scott, who is originally from East St. Louis, Ill., moved to Lawrence in 1980 to attend the University of Kansas. Scott said he’s always been involved in different community organizations, going back to when he was involved in student government during his undergrad at KU, and now that he is retired from his position in public housing he wants to get involved in local government.
“This is probably the right time to give back to the community,” Scott said. He said he thinks his community involvement has given him the foundation to do so.
Scott has served for various community organizations and boards during the approximately 40 years he’s lived in Lawrence. That includes serving as the president of the Lawrence-Douglas County League of Women Voters, a member of the Boys and Girls Club Board of Directors, and in leadership positions on the site councils of Sunset Hill Elementary School, West Middle School and Free State High School. He currently serves as the treasurer of the faith-based advocacy group Justice Matters and has served as the chair of the Trustees’ Ministry at the Ninth Street Missionary Baptist Church for several years.
Scott received his bachelor’s degree in political science and communications studies and his master’s degree in higher education from KU. He worked for the Lawrence-Douglas County Housing Authority for more than 20 years, where he served as the director of programs and property management. He later worked as the executive director of the Kansas City, Kansas Housing Authority, and retired from that position. He currently works part-time as a juvenile correction officer with the Douglas County Criminal Justice Services.
Scott said important issues for him are affordable housing, city utility rates and infrastructure. Apart from having spent his career working in public housing, Scott said he himself lived in public housing when he was growing up in East St. Louis. He said that experience would help in the city’s efforts to address its affordable housing shortage, homelessness, as well as making sure the community has the mechanisms in place to support people so they can stay in their housing.
“Growing up in public housing and being a former administrator of public housing, I probably can reduce that learning curve,” Scott said.
He also said that utility rates should be part of that conversation, noting that many of those who struggle to afford housing also have trouble paying their various utility bills.
When it comes to infrastructure, Scott said he wants to focus on projects of high impact for neighborhoods, such as areas of frequent flooding. Especially given the availability of federal pandemic aid that can be used on infrastructure projects, he said the city needs to be ready to go with a list of projects.
“We need to start looking at neighborhoods and say what can we do to start addressing some of those issues,” Scott said.
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 Scott, several other newcomers are running: Ma’Ko’Quah Jones, Bart Littlejohn, Amber Sellers, Shawn Pearson and Chris Flowers. Another newcomer, Gillian Rogers Shaw, filed for the election but has said that she no longer plans to run a campaign.
The filing deadline for the City Commission race was 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.