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Johnson County Community College trustee, who had a rocky term, resigns from board

·3 min read

Angeliina Lawson is resigning from the Johnson County Community College Board of Trustees after a sometimes turbulent term.

Lawson, who has served on the board since 2018, submitted her resignation, effective Oct. 31. She previously announced that she was not seeking reelection this fall, citing a conflict of interest with her career, working with national Democratic Party organizations.

She said Wednesday that she continues to work on national Democratic issues. And that she has accepted a position as a lobbyist working on land use issues, as well as an appointment with the National Association of Realtors’ State and Local Issues Policy Committee.

Lawson said that as a land specialist, she has expertise in land use management, redevelopment, conservation, mineral rights leasing, and carbon farming, and that she is “excited to work on building a better future for all of us.”

“From the beginning, I have stood on the idea that you cannot have two masters, and that once you know you will be paid to advocate specific issues that could also come up before you as an elected official, you can no longer serve as an elected official and represent the public,” Lawson said in a video announcing her resignation.

“When I announced that I was not seeking reelection it was because I was presented with future opportunities to continue the work that I’ve done here on the board after my term has ended. Those opportunities have come sooner than anticipated.”

She previously served in positions in both the Johnson County and Kansas Democratic parties.

She has had, at times, a controversial term on the Johnson County Community College Board of Trustees. Last year, the board took a rare step to censure Lawson, saying she spread damaging, false accusations about the college when she privately emailed state legislators with complaints.

Lawson secretly emailed a few state lawmakers last fall, questioning how the college manages its assets and claiming that the board lacked strong oversight. The email was eventually passed on to college officials across the state, and then to JCCC board members, who said Lawson’s comments were filled with inaccuracies and misrepresented the college.

After an investigation disputed nearly every allegation in her email, the board agreed to censure Lawson.

Lawson at the time called the process a “witch hunt,” arguing she was being penalized for asking questions and passing along constituents’ concerns.

In her resignation announcement, Lawson said she was honored to have served on the board. She said she was proud to have contributed to diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, the renaming of the performing arts facility — which previously held the name of former president Charles Carlsen, who was accused of sexual harassment more than a decade ago — as well as the selection of Andrew Bowne as the college’s president.

“As a member of the Board of Trustees, Trustee Lawson has been a passionate and dedicated advocate on a variety of issues,” said Board Chair Greg Musil in a statement. “I join the JCCC community in acknowledging the time and dedication she has committed to our College over the past four years.”

Lawson’s term was set to end Dec. 31, but will now remain vacant until filled by the Nov. 2 election.

Nine candidates are on the ballot, with the top four vote-getters earning a spot on the board. The candidates are incumbents Lee Cross and Paul Snider, as well as newcomers Dawn Rattan, Mark Hamill, Gerry Malnar, Jae Moyer, Joy Koesten, Martha Rose Davis and Wayne Sandberg.

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