Thursday, November 3, 2016

Douglas County Commission Candidates Meet in Baldwin City Candidate Forum

by Kevin Surbaugh

On the night of Tuesday November 1, 2016, while KU/Washburn in its annual exhibition game and game six of the World Series were playing out, candidates for both district two and district three were present for a candidate forum.  District two includes all of Baldwin City, Eudora and parts of North Lawrence, South Lawrence and all of East Lawrence. District three includes parts of Lawrence and is separated by 1400 Road at it's nearest point to Baldwin City, but includes part of the Baldwin School District. The forum sponsored by the Baldwin City Chamber of Commerce and the Baldwin City Economic Development Corporation.
After a thirty-minute meet and greet, twenty-seven area residents listened to the four candidates discussed the issues in a forum, moderated by Hank Booth. The candidates each had three minutes to respond to a number of questions during the one hour forum.

photographer Kevin Surbaugh
District Two Candidates:
Jesse Brinson (Independent)
Nancy Thellman (Democrat) (Incumbent)

District Three Candidates:
Michelle Derusseau (Republican)
Bassem Chahine (Democrat)

The first question asked the candidates to introduce themselves and tell a bit about why they were running.
Brinson: Works in a ministry mentoring students and consistently hears people say that they are not being heard by the politicians. His desire is to be the voice for all citizens to be heard on the commission.
photographer Kevin Surbaugh
Thellman: Has lived in the district for 16-years and has been on the commission eight years as she seeks her third four year term.

Chahine: Born in Dubai, moved here in 2001 attending Free State High School. Currently owns an import/export business.  Supported Bernie Sanders and Sanders said anyone can run, so when the current Commissioner, Jim Flory, announced his retirement, he decided to do his civic duty and run.
Derusseau: Today is her wedding anniversary.   One year ago that night, her anniversary present to her husband was suggesting she might run for the County Commission. She began attending every commission meeting to prepare for the race. She has been to every meeting over the year since. She says, she will do everything she can to the best of her ability.

Another question asked what business experience they have to bring to the commission.
Chahine: Knows how to sell, how to buy and how to negotiate. That is what he does, he told those in attendance, every day with his import/export business.
Derusseau: Spent 14-years as a business manager of a multi-million dollar business.
photographer Kevin Surbaugh

Thellman: Not rally an business experience herself, but nursing and medical while watching her husband grow his medical practice. As commissioner she has worked closely with both Lawrence and Baldwin City Chambers.

Brinson: Doesn't directly have business experience per se, but in youth ministry they deal with budgeting and dialogue with people, much the same as would be required on the commission.

Election Day will be November 8, 2016.  

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