Salem City Council unanimously chose Micki Varney to serve as the councilor representing West Salem for the remainder of 2022.
Varney is a salmon biologist and previously served as a city councilor in Dayton, Wash. and currently serves on the Salem Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, West Salem Neighborhood Association, Service Employees International Union Local 503 and American Association of University Women.
She listed protecting green spaces and parks, addressing homelessness and supporting sustainable growth as key issues facing the city.
“I believe a city councilor has a responsibility to be a community educator,” Varney said in her application. “Councilors keep current on most everything related to city affairs. They must process and understand the information and have the ability and commitment to explain policy decisions and city actions, and be a liaison to the citizens they represent.”
She will fill the seat left vacant by Jim Lewis, who resigned in February after opting to not seek reelection representing Ward 8.
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Eight people applied for the spot. After one person rescinded their application, the Council Board and Commission Appointments Committee reviewed the candidates and recommended four finalists.
During a special meeting Monday, council interviewed the three candidates — Varney, local tech business owner Chris Cummings, and Jesse Barton, an attorney, legal consultant and employer outreach coordinator with the U.S. Department of Defense.
A fourth finalist, Martin Hepp, did not attend the special meeting and was not interviewed.
Varney and Cummings are also running to represent the Ward 8 spot in May’s primary election.
Council selected Lewis's replacement after the interviews. A majority of votes was required for appointment. Every present council member, including Mayor Chuck Bennett, voted for Varney.
This article originally appeared on Salem Statesman Journal: Salem City Council picks Micki Varney to serve as West Salem councilor