Born and raised in Kansas City, KS. Completed Reserve Officer Training Corps at Marion Military Institute where I received my first tests as a leader eventually being responsible for 80 fellow students. Accepted a commission in the US Army, and completed my Bachelor’s degree at the University of Kansas. I met my wife to be, and we decided that Lawrence was the place we wanted to start our family. Resident of Lawrence for 18 years, and a Lieutenant Colonel in the Kansas National Guard
Bachelor's Degree in History from the University of Kansas and
Master's of Public Administration from the University of Kansas
Member of Lawrence Douglas County Municipal Planning Commission, Lawrence Metropolitan Planning Organization
809 Fox Chase Ct
What do you think is expected of as a commissioner/board member?
o Listening with genuine curiosity to diagnose problems, listening to identify the competing values and beliefs at play, and respecting the interaction from the public, even when their testimony is contentious or insulting. It’s hard. I’ve been on the planning commission for four years, and I’ve heard comments that can trigger people. It’s important to me as a leader to recognize that trigger, and not let that dictate the conversation. Leaders have to be right there in the mix, getting hands dirty but also see the greater picture. I have spent 19 years of my life working on being a leader, and I would bring those hard learned lessons to the Lawrence City Commission.
What role your think policy plays in the functioning of your position?
o Policy is the box that you are forced to work within. Whether it is existing city codes, ordinances, guidelines, plans, or state laws and statutes...you have limits to your authority, power, and available courses of action. For a long time, I have thought that true creativity in problem solving is “working (and thinking) inside the box”. We all have limits put upon us when it comes to finding solutions: money, time, and scope of project are three examples. HOW we work within those limits and how we engage others to expand our box is where we are going to have the greatest success.
What kind of relationship should a board member or commissioner have with the community (including parents and families)?
o A commissioner MUST engage with and listen to people or neighborhoods that will disagree with them. And it’s not simply about extending “a little respect”, “kissing rings”, or placating others. You GAIN REAL PERSPECTIVE if you can listen with real curiosity, not get triggered, not take it personally, and appreciate their deeply held values and beliefs. At the end of the day, city commissioners are elected to represent and make decisions on behalf of the city at large. It’s a challenge, but one in that I’m ready to take on!
What responsibilities do board members/commissioners have in regards to advocacy?
o That’s a very interesting question. That was a topic of my Master’s of Public Administration coursework at KU. Advocacy, by elected officials, appointed officials, or city staff is a tough concept. On one hand, you have the authority and/or expertise to make real change. On the other hand, your chosen viewpoint may be biased, and may not be what is best for a constituency. I would say that if I were to engage in any specific kind of advocacy on a particular topic, I would have to evaluate that I really believed it was in the best interest of EVERY person within Lawrence. I would have to listen to a LOT of other opinions, seek out and engage with those that might disagree, and question my own biases. Basically, ask myself why I believe what I believe.