Candidates fill slates for Baldwin City, Eudora city government and school board elections
photo by: Peter Hancock
There will be no primaries anywhere in the county for this year’s city government and school board elections, but there will be a number of contested Baldwin City and Eudora elections in November.
After the June 3 candidate filing and withdrawal deadline, contested races are assured for the Baldwin City Council and Eudora City Commission. Just one candidate filed for each of the five Baldwin City school board positions and each of the four Eudora school board positions on the ballot this year, meaning all will be unopposed.
The Baldwin City Council race drew the most interest, with seven candidates filing for the three seats that are expiring this year. All seven candidates will be on the same Nov. 5 general election ballot, and the three who receive the most votes will win a four-year term on the council. Incumbent Dave Simmons, Baker University resident Nicholas Goodman, retired Kansas Highway Patrol officer and water utility technician Jerry Smith had previously filed; filing in the final week before the deadline were Julie Constantinescu, Scott Lauridsen, Cory Venable and Sean Hare.
Constantinescu, retired from a career as an EMT and various other medicine-related positions, said she has regularly attended City Council meetings in recent years.
“I think I have something to offer,” she said. “I think I can be a voice of the people.”
With his filing for the City Council, Lauridsen, who works for a technology solutions company, is looking to return to public service. He served on the Baldwin City school board from 2004 to 2012. He is now in a position to reengage in community service, running with the goal of giving back to his hometown, he said.
Venable, a claims investigator for Farmers Insurance, said he became interested in city government as a member of the Baldwin Golf Association when it was rumored that the city wanted to sell the city golf course. That experience, and the City Council’s purchase of a closed restaurant to relocate the police station before having it inspected by a structural engineer, have convinced him that the city needs to do better advanced planning before committing taxpayers to projects, he said.
Hare, the owner of an information technology company, said he, too, was running out of a desire to give back to the community.
Late interest also produced a contested election for the Eudora City Commission. Joining incumbents Ruth Hughs and Tim Bruce on the ballot are Peter Latta, a firefighter with the Northwest Consolidated Fire District in Johnson County and volunteer with the Eudora Fire Department; Roberta Lehmann, assistant director of the Topeka-based special needs service provider RICO Services, and Rex Tedrow, retired from a career in real estate.
Lehmann said she was running to give back the community she loves. Her goal on the commission is to help Eudora improve city amenities it provides residents while maintaining its small-town identity.
Latta said he is running to be a voice for the people in Eudora who speak out on social media and in the private but rarely attend City Commission meetings. Tedraw said his motivation was a desire to see Eudora expand its tax base through commercial and light industrial growth.
Unlike the Eudora or Lawrence school boards, on which all candidates are elected to at-large seats on a single contested ballot, 6 of the 7 seats on the Baldwin City school board are reserved for candidates living in defined geographic districts. Four of those district seats and the one at-large seat are on the ballot this year, and each drew only single candidate. The candidates are Kelley Bethell-Smith for District 1, Position 1; Phillip J. Harvey for District 1, Position 4; Tony Brown for District 2, Position 2; Ande Parks for District 3, Position 3; and Carrie Stevens for the board’s at-large seat.
The four candidates running for four at-large spots on the Eudora school board are incumbents Mark Chrislip, Bryan Maring and Lynn Reazin and newcomer Becky Plate.
Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the number of open seats in the Eudora school board. There are four at-large seats available this election.