The city of Woodburn has announced its pick for the new Ward I city councilor, and we at the Independent have been pleased watching the process unfold.

After Horst Raustein’s resignation announcement, the city opened up the position to applicants. In a city where those running for council often run unopposed, we were pleasantly surprised that three people stepped up to take the vacant spot on council.

The city’s role was also commendable, not taking the decision lightly. Mayor Kathy Figley could have just appointed whoever’s application looked best, but she went through a thorough process, organizing a meet and greet with Ward I residents at Souls Harbor Church of the Nazarene last Tuesday so they could see who wanted to represent their ward. Figley also held in-depth interviews with each candidate.

The final candidate chosen, Teresa Alonso Leon, provides a wealth of knowledge and experience, in addition to representing an underserved yet dominant demographic in Woodburn.

The other two candidates, Colin Brown and Gerald Kernodle, were also well-qualified individuals, and we applaud them for throwing their hats into the ring. With a wealth of knowledge and skills, we will hopefully see these men popping up as leaders in other areas of the community.

Although Alonso Leon’s place on the city council isn’t official, there is no reason to expect a vote against her appointment at the city council’s next meeting Aug. 12.

What makes her special is that she’s a homegrown leader, having been raised in Woodburn. She was the first in her family to earn a master’s degree and her education experience even took her to Harvard for a special program. She is only the third councilor in Woodburn history to represent the Hispanic population, a baffling number that we would like to see grow.

Alonso Leon’s experience will bring a fresh perspective to the city council, and we’re looking forward to seeing that dynamic evolve.

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