A self-professed “numbers guy”, Stuart was elected to the Lawrence City Commission in 2015. His 32 years experience as an IRS auditor gave him a leg-up in understanding the complexities of city finance. As a commissioner, he keeps a close eye on taxpayer funds.
In addition to his serving as a commissioner for four years, Stuart served as Lawrence mayor in 2018.
B.A. in English and Modern European Studies, University of Kansas, 1977
Stuart has been active in local civic life for more than 35 years. Organizations he has helped lead include the Lawrence Community Nursery School, the Schwegler Neighborhood Association, Boy Scout Troop 59, Friends of Eutin, the Sister Cities Advisory Board and the Lawrence Traffic Safety Commission. He currently serves as a Master Food Volunteer with the Douglas County Extension Service.
1812 W. 21st Terrace
The job of a city commissioner is to learn the issues, consult staff, listen respectfully to the community, and then to make informed decisions.
The chief roles of the city commission are to set the policies for the city government, adopt the annual budget and to select and supervise the city manager.
The most important issue facing our community is providing excellent core city services in a cost effective manner. We all want a livable and attractive community. Excellent public safety (police-fire-medical), safe and reliable infrastructure (streets-sanitation-water-storm water), wonderful parks and great recreation programs make Lawrence livable.
Another area of significance for our community is city finances. We are making progress on improving city finances. Where we have uncovered weaknesses, we acknowledged them, corrected them, and resolved not to repeat them. I supported adoption of priority-based budgeting in order to make better decisions. I also supported adoption of the best practice of rotating outside auditors to get “fresh eyes on the books.”
A commissioner should be open to hearing from the community. Listening with respect is an important aspect of the job. A commissioner should support government transparency so that the public can be well informed about city issues and policies.
Commissioners should be leaders in the community on issues of importance to the community. The most important aspect of this is trying to ensure that city policies reflect community values.
I am a lifelong Lawrence resident with a history of community service. Primarily focused on affordable housing, aligning city policies so they aren't counter-productive, and updating our economic development policies for the future.
Lawrence High School - Class of 2002
Emporia State University - Class of 2007
Bachelor in Business Management
Election Expert - Douglas County Clerk's Office
Prairie Park Neighborhood Association President
Public Incentives Review Committee - Vice Chair
1303 E 25th Terr
Lawrence, KS 66046
First, I believe it is a commissioner's duty to be a community leader on issues, meeting with community stakeholders and advocating for those positions at a state or national level if we cannot do so locally. Second, while the City Manager's office and staff should oversee day to day operations of the city, policy ideas and direction should be given from the City Commission.
I am a policy-first candidate. We can have ideas, but without a solid policy foundation, ideas don't have enough "meat" to them. From policy specifics for our sidewalk repair program to Plan 2040, policy should be the driving force for the city. But those policies should not be counter-productive.
As a general rule, a city commissioner is directly responsible for the citizens in Lawrence. That means all citizens, not just those who voted for them or gave a campaign contribution. We should do our best to make time for citizens who have concerns or ideas to bring to the city commission, and not push off policy suggestions to staff.
Advocacy on behalf of our constituents is an important part of the job. However, there are reasonable limits to what we can do as a city commissioner can do for advocacy for state and federal issues. If we cannot advocate effectively, we should at least have a working knowledge of other resources available to assist for a given situation.
J.D. - University of Kansas - 1999
BS - Chemical Engineering - Kansas State University - 1996
Lawence Family Promise - 2010 - present; Ballard Center - 2000 - present; St. John Finance Chair - 2012 - present
821 Sunset Dr.
Lawrence, KS 66044
I believe a commissioner is expected to study the issues, listen to everyone concerned and make the best decision possible.
I think it is very important to have and follow good policies. A good policy allows citizens to know what to expect and allows services to be administered fairly.
A commissioner should have an open and honest relationship with the community. They should be available and listen carefully to all members of the community.
A commissioner should advocate their city’s positions at both the state and federal levels.
Bachelors of Science in Political Science and Latin American & Caribbean Studies, University of Kansas
-Board Member, Douglas County Kansas State Research & Extension Council
-Poverty Workgroup for the Douglas County Community Health Plan
-Vice President of Douglas County Young Democrats
Lawrence is a city forged in flames over the principle that all people are created equal. Black, brown, or white we deserve compassion and respect. And we should be just as devoted to equal justice today.
Unfortunately, I believe very little is expected of commissioners in Lawrence. I hope to change that. I am running for city commission to make sure Lawrence lives up to our identity as a proudly progressive community. When we do, we can create prosperous neighborhoods and ensure the dignity of all Lawrence residents.
As policymakers, it is the responsibility of city commissioners to produce good public policy that will advance the welfare of all residents. I believe Lawrence should lead the state of Kansas with ambitious and compassionate policy making. We are running on a entire platform of ambitious policy initiatives including: smart policy to ensure adequate, affordable housing; bold sustainability programs to tackle climate change; and, just reforms to address systemic racial disparities in Lawrence.
It's important to get good policy that aligns with Lawrence's progressive values. That's why I have proposed requiring a disparity impact notes on future policy changes and projects to eliminate "color blind" policy making. Similar analysis could be done for the environmental and economic impact of decisions made by the commission. We have the knowledge and expertise at the local level to make tangible changes in the lives of struggle Lawrencians. Now, we just need political will.
City commission should be responsible to the needs of the all people who call Lawrence home and not to wealthy property management companies or big developers. We're running a race to end corporate welfare in Lawrence and put our tax dollars toward smart, bold investments in the well being and futures our neighbors.
The relationship between residents and city commissioners should be built on trust and respect - two things that I hope to earn. Commissioners should be directly accountable to the people. Lawrence city government should also require greater accountability and transparency with our police department and during contract negotiations with public employee unions.
Advocacy is in my job title. I work every day to advance the livelihoods of Kansans struggling to get by. My policy advocacy includes diverse issue areas from anti-hunger programs like food stamps to our state's the foster care crisis to juvenile justice reform. It will take an activist city commission to move Lawrence forward for all our neighbors and closer toward our progressive values of fairness, equal opportunity, and justice for all.
And we need to get to work now. Climate change is already devastating livelihoods in the Midwest. According to a 2018 Report from the United Nations, there is no historic precedent for the action needed at this time. We have no choice but to be bolder advocate for green energy and resiliency projects. We can reduce our environmental footprint, help our neighbors better plan for extreme weather, and develop an equitable, 21st-Century economy in Lawrence.
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
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.
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.
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!
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.
Four years ago I began going to City Commission meetings every week as a fun mom’s night out. Soon I began to get involved in a number of community organizations. In my view, commissioners aren’t listening to each other and a number of relationships with community partners have been damaged in the last few years. We need commissioners who are working together and who have mutual respect for community partners.
University of Kansas, Bachelor's Slavic Languages and Literatures
Lawrence Association of Neighborhoods,
Lawrence Preservation Alliance,
Friends of Oak Hill Cemetery,
Board of Zoning Appeals,
Transient Guest Tax Grant Advisory Board
1125 Kasold Drive
Lawrence, KS 66049
A city commissioner should be exemplary at listening to members of the public. It is also important that she listens to her fellow commissioners closely to build consensus.
Commissioners must make themselves available to community members and actively seek out diverse opinions. They must be willing to research, ask tough questions, and make tough decisions.
The position is entirely about the crafting of policy. The policies we should be concerned about at the local level in Lawrence for the next four years are:
Stopping the current sidewalk policy and creating one that is equitable,
Implementing Plan 2040,
Update Stormwater Masterplan,
Update Rental Inspection Program,
Gaining control of financing long term maintenance for infrastructure projects,
Ensure that affordable housing is available in a variety of neighborhoods in our community, in accordance with best practices and in observance of the Douglas County Health Equity Report.
A commissioner should always make special efforts to attend events that focus on all aspects of our community. They should be available to meet with as many citizens as possible. Being a city commissioner is not just about showing up to a meeting on Tuesday night and making decisions. This includes building relationships and collaborating with a variety of groups and community stakeholders including neighborhoods, parents, Haskell University, KU, business owners, entrepreneurs and others. Additionally, we need to repair relationships with the USD 497 School Board, the Douglas County Commission, and other community partners so that we all can work together to address issues that impact Lawrence. As Chair of Lawrence Association of Neighborhoods the past two years, I’m always heartened to see city commissioners attend to hear what’s happening with neighborhoods and what their concerns are.
Commissioners represent a spectrum of people and their views, therefore, it is important to try to put bias aside and listen to all viewpoints. Commissioners should attend each commission meeting with an open mind; one never knows when a great solution may present itself. However they must always be willing to ask difficult questions in the most polite way possible. Certainly commissioners may have subjects of personal interest or expertise, but they must be an advocate for the well being of Lawrence as a whole not just their personal interest groups.