shannon portillo headshot

Shannon Portillo, assistant vice chancellor of academic affairs at the University of Kansas Edwards campus, is running for the Douglas County Commission.

Shannon Portillo, assistant vice chancellor of academic affairs at the University of Kansas Edwards Campus, filed Monday to run for a seat on the Douglas County Commission, according a news release. 

Portillo, who also serves as an associate professor in the School of Public Affairs and Administration, will be on the ballot in the third district, which includes the Clinton and west Lawrence areas of Douglas County. She will run as a Democrat.

“We are at a pivotal point in our history, and the choices we make as a community over the next four years will reveal our true values,” Portillo said in a statement. “We need to reflect on our policy decisions, and ensure they’re driven by our voters’ needs.”

Portillo wants to focus on affordable housing, food security, social services and behavioral health to create a more sustainable community focused on the well being of individuals, according to the release. 

She also wants to strengthen community resources, which will eliminate the need for larger jails, she said in the release.

“At a time when we still don’t know the full impact of COVID-19 on the health or economic wellbeing of our community, we cannot afford to make decisions, such as expanding a jail, that limit our ability to support the most vulnerable among us when they need it most,” Portillo said.

Democrat Karen Willey and Republicans Ronald Thacker and Pam McDermott are also running for Douglas County Commission in the third district. Republican Michelle Derusseau, who has held the seat since 2016, will not be seeking reelection. 

Primary elections are scheduled for Aug. 4. Winners of the primary will move on to the general election on Nov. 3.