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A wealth of talent

Last November, five people sought election to three Keizer city council seats. This week, seven candidates offered themselves up for appointment to a vacant seat. All seven made good cases for their appointment. In the end the council voted to name Kim Freeman to the seat vacated by Ken LeDuc.

Freeman will be a great addition to the council due to her independence, intelligence and experience. She admirably chaired this year’s Budget Committee; she has served on the Volunteer Coordinating Committee including chairing that body.

The newest councilor is nobody’s toady—she makes decisions based on what she learns, not on what she’s told. She will be an independent voice but she will be able to work well with her colleagues.  She is well known for her affable and courteous manner; there will be no rough stuff from her.

Through her various positions in the private and public sectors Kim Freeman has gained a wide-ranging set of skills, especially in the financial realm. Her tenure with a credit counseling service as well as her position as treasurer for several non-profit groups will allow her to bring a well-rounded background in budgets to the council.

She was firm yet collaborative in her chairmanship of the 2013 Keier Budget Committee. She kept discussions on track and completed the task of fashioning the city’s 2013-15 budget in a timely manner.

Her other public service has been with the Volunteer Coordinating Committee. This is the committee that vets applicants for every volunteer membership of all the city’s commissions, boards and task forces Her many years of service on that committee gives her a unique knowledge of the functions of the diverse committees the city leaders rely upon.

Kim Freeman is a great choice and we expect good things from her over the next three and a half years.

The six councilors filling the vacant  seat had a wealth of talent to choose from. There were two council candidates from last November—Eamon Bishop and Matt Chappell. Ron Bursin, executive director of the State Ethics Commission was an applicant as was former Keizer Public Works employee Roland Herrera. Erik Peterson, a member of the Planning Commission applied as did Kevin Hohnbaum,  a leader of Keep Keizer Livable.

It is a testament to Keizer that there was such a deep bench of potential city councilors. Each was thoughtful in their five minute presentations before the special council session on Monday. Each has the best interests of Keizer at heart, each has been involved with their community with their volunteerism.

In 18 months Keizer will have an election for mayor and three council seats. Contested elections are vital to a democracy,. With the talent on display Monday and other civic-minded citizens like them, 2014 should be a year when the people who have municipal opinions and have a stake in Keizer’s success should make the ultimate volunteer effort and run for public office.

As Mayor Lore Christopher often says, they’re not politicians, they’re just neighbors helping the city.