LAWRENCE, Kan. -- A 19-year-old KU student is running for Lawrence City Commission. But Christian Lyche's lack of experience hasn’t been the main topic of discussion since he joined the crowded race earlier this month.
The wife of City Commissioner Matthew Herbert called Lyche, a “dirtbag kid” on her Facebook page. She accuses him and friends of causing $5,000 in damages to her Airbnb a year ago.
“There’s not going to be any charges, I’m innocent and I’d love to see anyone step forward with any evidence,” Lyche said.
Asked about his wife’s post and the attention it’s drawn, Commissioner Herbert said, “the stories are going to get out there. I would rather the debate focus on stuff that matters to people. If that’s what matters to people, I suppose that’s what we’ll talk about, but I think the average person what they care about is public safety and infrastructure.”
Lyche just finished his freshman year at the University of Kansas and has never held any position in student government.
“A lot of people were hesitant about my age. I even had one guy say I’d never vote for a 20-year-old, and I laughed at that because I’m only 19 and said that’s fine."
Lyche says he entered the race because he wants to reduce taxes and create jobs. Herbert shares some of the same concerns.
“I think we are only a couple years away from seeing some really significant progress of enabling people to live in affordable housing in the community they work in,” Commissioner Herbert said.
Six challengers will compete for Herbert and Lisa Larsen's seat as well as one where the incumbent isn't seeking re-election.
Larsen said she was trying to remain above the fray. “I welcome everyone who wants to engage in our system we need more people, young people as well as old people,” she said.
Lyche says he hopes he’s among the six candidates who emerge from the August Primary for the November election, when he expects many more students to be in town casting ballots.
Here's the full list of candidates: Matthew Herbert | Bassem Chahine | Lisa Larsen | Dustin Stumblingbear | Jennifer Ananda | Ken Easthouse | Mike Anderson Christian Lyche