Child care a top priority for new commissioner

Lindsay Byrnes embraces her responsibility as the only female commissioner.

GARDEN CITY, Kan. (KSNW) — On Tuesday night, Lindsay Byrnes won a seat on Garden City’s commission, but she is also a doctor and a single mom who works in Wichita for child care reasons.

Now, Byrnes says her experience is shaping her goals for Garden City. She wants to do more for working parents.

“I am a single working mom,” she said, “that’s my lens of the world.”

She worked as a physician in Garden with a third child on the way, balancing her time with the help of her nanny.

“She also got pregnant and had a baby the day after I had mine, and that was the end of that! She said, ‘Oh I think I can take care of four kids,’ and I thought, ‘Haha no you can’t, and you shouldn’t. You should be with your baby now.’”

So, Lindsay stayed home. By the time she went back to work, she was divorced. In Garden City, experts say there’s a shortage of about 600 daycare spots.

“We really have a dearth of sick day and drop-in,” said Byrnes, “and those kinds of services, and that really restricts your ability to work, and I ran head-on into that.”

Lindsay now works at Via Christie in Wichita. She says the job gave her the flexibility she needed.

Though she’d love to see her garden city patients again if she could, she says it’s her experiences as a single mother that inform her priorities for Garden City.

“Women’s brains are influenced by different hormones,” she said. “Biologically, they think differently, they approach things differently, and they have a different experience in the world, and that is an important perspective to have.”

She says more options for working parents can only help the community grow.

“I think that would be an amazing recruitment and retention tool, too. God knows from personal experience it would be for me.”