April’s City Commission race got its sixth and seventh candidates – and second Commission alum – Wednesday when Bob Strawn and Deb Nuss declared their intentions to seek the office.
Nuss and Strawn, a commissioner from 2007 to 2011, join incumbent Rich Jankovich along with John Ball, Daniel Hogan, Karen McCulloh and Usha Reddi as declared candidates. Like Strawn, McCulloh is a former commissioner, having served from 1997 to 2001. Nuss is a former school board member, having served on that body from 1994 to 1999. She was president during the 1998-99 school year.
The filing deadline is noon Tuesday.
The terms of Jankovich, Loren Pepperd and Jim Sherow expire in April. Sherow has already said he will not seek re-election, while Pepperd has made no statement on his intentions.
The terms of commissioners John Matta and Wynn Butler expire in 2015.
Strawn said he decided to run in part to advance the notion of consolidating local governments, something he had advocated during his previous term. He noted that county officials have raised the idea of a substantial building project, making the topic of intergovernmental consolidation more pertinent.
“Before the county is off on a big building project, we ought to see whether consolidation offers the opportunity to have more efficient, effective government,” he said.
He said his focus would not change from his earlier term. “I’m going to be interested in ethics, debt, taxes, growth and delivering city services in an effective and efficient way,” he said.
Strawn said he had “absolutely loved my time on the commission,” and “thought I represented Manhattan as best I could.”
Nuss outlined a four-point platform for her campaign: openness, economic development, regional cooperation and quality of life. She proposed that briefing meetings — not just legislative meetings and work sessions — should be televised.
Nuss said she believes community development guides economic development.
“Growth must be a positive maturing of the community,” Nuss said, managed with zoning laws and the Comprehensive Land Use Plan.
She said ongoing conflicts between the city and county only serve to erode trust that has taken years to establish and must end. She said good working relationships being developed through the Flint Hills Regional Council and the creation of the Metropolitan Planning Organization project an inviting business environment to outside firms while encouraging the expansion and retention of existing businesses.
Nuss termed Manhattan a great place to live and raise a family, as well as a great place to retire because of the investments the community has been willing to make in its quality of life.
“I am interested in the quality of life of all citizens in our community,” Nuss said. “When all members of our community feel important our community can continue to be a safe, supportive, and wonderful place to live.”