Archive for Thursday, January 11, 2007

Ward 4 council member cites family record of public service

January 11, 2007

Harland Russell knows its cliche, but he said he was running for re-election to the Ward 4 Lansing City Council seat because he wanted to make sure projects now in the hopper get completed.

"There's just so much going on, and I want to see it all carried through," said Russell, who first was appointed to the council in 1995 before winning election in 1999 and 2003.

A senior civil engineering technician with George Butler Associates in Lenexa, Russell said he enjoyed working on behalf of his constituents and the community at-large. He said he viewed public service as a way to "give back" to the community where he was born.

His father, Loran Russell, is a onetime mayor, so public service is a family tradition.

"Hopefully I'm instilling this in my children, too," said Russell, whose 15-year-old daughter, Kristyn, volunteered this year with the Mayor's Christmas Tree project.

Russell said with issues going on both in front of the public and behind the scenes, there's plenty to keep a council member busy.

"I find myself saying this all the time, but it's true: It is an exciting time to live in Lansing," he said.

Among the projects on Russell's front burner are continued economic development, including Towne Center and the various business projects along Main Street, development of Lansing Community Park and completion of the Main Street System Enhancement project.

"I would like to be in on the development of Community Park and bringing that project back to the people to see it move forward," he said.

Russell said he was pleased with progress on Main Street, a multimillion-dollar, city-state project slated for completion in late 2007 or early 2008.

"That's a very important project. I've said all along when it is finished, it'll change the face of Lansing," he said.

He promised he would continue his frequent questioning of city staffers, especially in fiscal areas.

"I'm always looking to see whether the budgets presented are fiscally responsible and represents the needs of the city, not the wants," he said. "I ask a lot of questions because I think they're questions that a lot of people would want answered."

He also said he would like the city to explore ways to encourage residential redevelopment in older areas of the city and to bring youths into the political process.

"I'm always excited about ways to involve youth more in our community," he said.

Russell and his wife, Tammy, are parents of two children, Kristyn, and Joshua, 10.

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