About Me

Who are you? and why are you running for county commissioner?

My name is Gene Dorsey. I retired from a 35-year career spent in the corporate world working for major international corporations. My career was spent in the controller function first as a corporate internal auditor, then the construction audit manager of a 1.7-billion-dollar project, and finally various controller positions at the plant, division and company level. I have managed staffs ranging from 3 to 225 people. I have managed the preparation of multi-million-dollar operating budgets and capital budgets. I grew up in Gardner, Kansas, graduated from KU, and have lived in Cincinnati, Dallas, Yardley, Pa., Houston, Yanbu, Saudi Arabia, and Princeton, New Jersey. In 2005, we moved back to Lawrence and I worked for a Danish pump manufacturer for almost 4 years implementing an enterprise data software system. My wife passed away in 2015 from breast cancer. In 2016, my son who was diagnosed with bi-polar schizoaffective disorder moved back in with me, giving me compassion and understanding to those with behavioral health issues. He passed away from heart failure in November, 2022, at home in bed in his sleep, but in reality, it was the result of his mental health issues.

I have been attending Douglas County Commission meetings since 2016. I have been active in community affairs as the Secretary and a founding member of the Schwegler Neighborhood Association for 6 years; and as the City/County appointee to the governing board of Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center since December, 2018. I currently serve that organization as Secretary/Treasurer for the 2023-2024 year.

I find the need for a higher purpose in life and as the late Kurt von Achen explained we all owe a civic tax and it is time for me to pay mine. The expansion of the county commission from 3 to 5 members will significantly change the dynamics of the county and I think I can offer a positive contribution to the organization during this time of change. Plus, I can offer fulltime experienced leadership in this time of challenging issues.

What are the most important issues facing the county?

Affordable housing, economic development to expand the tax base and take pressure off of individual homeowners, and reaching a consensus on solar and wind turbine renewable energy. Property taxes are the number one issue for those over 65 and living on fixed incomes. Homelessness is also an issue that the City of Lawrence has taken the lead on but it will require County help as it is a complex problem involving behavioral health and other factors. None of these issues have easy solutions and demand full-time attention.

How will you govern and make decisions?

I am seeking to represent District 4, an area that spans a diverse range of neighborhoods, from Iowa Street through the Schwegler neighborhood, extending eastward to include Lawrence and Eudora. While Lawrence holds a significant portion of the population, I recognize the need to pay increased attention to Eudora and the rural county areas. This need will become apparent as we confront upcoming challenges related to solar projects and the Panasonic Plant.

I am dedicated to actively engaging with residents from Schwegler, Barker, east Lawrence, Eudora, Hesper, and all unincorporated regions to gather their invaluable input and insights. The decisions I make will be rooted in a commitment to meeting the distinct requirements and wishes of my district while also taking into account the broader needs of the entire county.

Guided by the principles of compassion, effective communication, collaboration, and transparency, I am determined to work together with the community to address these issues. I invite you to join me on this journey and become part of our team in shaping a more promising future for Douglas County.