The Tumwater City Council appointed planning commission member Angela Jefferson to fill the council’s vacant position 2 seat.
Jefferson replaces former councilperson Tom Oliva, who stepped down from the council earlier this year. She’ll hold the spot until elections this November, at which time she’ll have to run a campaign to hold the spot.
Jefferson, a veteran of the U.S. Army and local business owner, was selected Sunday after the council interviewed seven applicants for the spot. The interviews took roughly 45 minutes each, as council members took turns asking a set list of nine questions.
Responding to questions from council members, Jefferson said she would like to see city officials interacting with their constituents through social media — noting Tumwater’s social media presence is nearly nonexistent compared to neighboring Olympia and Lacey. She praised the city’s adoption of the Thurston Climate Mitigation Plan, and encouraged implementing measures within the plan, saying: “Ladies and gentlemen, this is a 9-1-1 call and we have to take it seriously.”
Additionally, when asked how the council can balance the city’s growing tax base, Jefferson advocated for selectivity and debate when discussing what businesses they attract.
“We can ask the following questions: How is it going to impact our community? How is it going to change the footprint of our community?” Jefferson said.
After each candidate was interviewed, the council met to discuss the candidates. While they had previously reserved some time on Tuesday to continue deliberating who to pick, the issue was resolved that same night.
Each council member listed their top three favorite candidates. Jefferson and Planning Commission Chair Elizabeth Robbins were selected by every council member. During the ensuing discussion, a majority of council members noted Jefferson was their top choice, with many praising the substance of her answers.
Mayor Pro Tem Joan Cathey said Robbins was her top pick, however noting that the common consensus was in Jefferson’s favor, she said she was “totally fine” with Jefferson taking the position. During a vote with all council members, Jefferson was unanimously selected to fill the position.
Jefferson was sworn into the office yesterday by Mayor Pete Kmet; she will be sworn in ceremonially this evening.
“This was an impressive set of candidates from which to choose a new Councilmember. Angela Jefferson was selected in a unanimous vote by the City Council. She brings valuable perspectives from her work and life experiences as a military veteran, community advocate, and local business owner. We think Angela is a great addition to the City Council,” said Tumwater Mayor Pete Kmet in a press release.
Jefferson retired from the U.S. Army after a 25-year military career as a combat veteran. She holds a master’s degree and worked in human resources during her military service and as a civilian. Jefferson moved to Washington in 2003 and has lived in Tumwater for the past four years. In addition to the planning commission, she has served on the historic preservation and Lacey Parks and Recreation commissions. She is a volunteer at several area community and non-profit organizations that provide services to seniors, people experiencing homelessness, and mental health services, according to the press release.
“Tumwater is now my hometown. It is a beautiful place to live and work, and I want to do my part to keep it great,” said Jefferson. “As a full-time retired military officer, I have the time and experience to bring significant value in service to the community as a Tumwater City Councilmember,” Jefferson said in the press release.