By Lisa Walters’ own account, longtime friends have viewed her photo outside the Battle Ground City Hall and asked why she never told them she was a council member. The days of her being asked such questions could soon be over.
After struggling with the decision, Walters announced this week she has agreed to seek the mayor’s appointment at the council’s meeting Tuesday night. The 10-year council veteran is the presumptive choice to replace outgoing Mayor Mike Ciraulo, according to several council members.
“I’ve been happy doing what I’ve been doing as a council member,” Walters, 47, said. “I’m not a huge fan of the limelight.”
These are uncharted waters for Walters and the city she serves.
Walters is set to become Battle Ground’s first female mayor, if appointed. The council appoints the mayor and deputy mayor from among its ranks. Both are ceremonial roles. The mayor runs meetings and represents the city at events.
The Battle Ground council will appoint a deputy mayor and swear in three new members Tuesday inside City Hall, 109 S.W. First St. The meeting starts at 7 p.m.
Battle Ground has had 10 men serve as mayor since it became a city in 1951. If Walters is appointed, Vancouver would become the only city in Clark County that has never had a female mayor.
Camas (Nan Henriksen), Washougal (Stacee Sellers) and Ridgefield (Gladys Doriot) have each had one female mayor. Woodland has had three female mayors — Leone Foglia, Sylvia Fields and Robin Jones.
Outgoing Battle Ground Councilman Paul Zandamela said Walters’ appointment would be a step in the right direction.
“I’m really proud of her,” said Zandamela, the city’s first black councilman. “The change is good for the city.”
Walters has the support of Ciraulo, former mayor/current Councilman Bill Ganley, Councilman Alex Reinhold and incoming Councilman Adrian Cortes, who is replacing Zandamela. Newcomers Shane Bowman and Philip L. Johnson have not publicly declared who they would support for the mayor’s appointment.
There is a feeling among council members it is Walters’ turn. Yet, she admits she is nervous. Her anxieties about stepping into the spotlight were partially quelled by the comfort of having Ciraulo and Ganley’s experience to lean on, she said.
Walters attended civic events with Ciraulo during December to get a better sense of the mayoral position’s demands. Walters said she came away with a stronger appreciation of Ciraulo, who served as mayor while working full time as a division chief at Clark County Fire & Rescue.
Walters stepped away from her retail job with Fred Meyer nine months ago to spend more time with her family following the birth of her first grandchild, she said. She spent most of her career in accounting jobs.
Her time tagging along with Ciraulo prepared her for the time demands the mayor position promises, she said. It also made her realize she could handle the limelight she has dreaded so much.
“The little I’ve done with Mike has changed my mind,” Walters said. “I’ve enjoyed the people I’ve met.”
Walters said she would strive to bring the new council together and aid in the three new members’ adjustment process. Her motto is “Bring things home,” which speaks to her focus on getting things done.
Ciraulo is confident Walters will overcome any doubts she has and do a fine job.
“I’m committed to supporting her 100 percent,” Ciraulo said.