Bart Hansen, a father of two young children and Clark Public Utilities office manager, was appointed to fill Mayor Tim Leavitt’s vacant Vancouver City Council position Monday night.
The council narrowed its two top choices to Hansen and Lee Rafferty, a former small-business owner and downtown activist, before voting 4-2 in Hansen’s favor.
Retired math teacher Anne McEnerny-Ogle, who was defeated in November’s general election by incumbent Councilor Jeanne Harris, and small business owner Eric Olmsted also were interviewed Monday.
Hansen, 35, will be sworn in to the Position 4 job at the Feb. 1 council meeting.
Each candidate was interviewed for about a half hour before the council deliberated in a closed executive session and debated at their evening public meeting.
About 45 people sat in on the interviews, many wearing buttons in support of their candidate.
Hansen told the council his top three priorities are the city’s budget crisis, assuring Vancouver’s future prosperity and supporting the city’s police and fire agencies.
“We need to see what our citizens want, what is available, and what they’re willing to pay for it,” he said.
He also said that as a father and a public employee, he will bring a new perspective to the council. Most of the council members are close to or of retirement age with grown families. Leavitt, who is 39 and works full-time, is not married and does not have children.
“I have a full-time job and a young family,” Hansen said. “This is the kind of diversity that I want to bring to the council.”
Harris, who nominated Hansen in the council vote, agreed. She said she wanted “fresh eyes” on the seven-member board.
“He’s got a lot of energy,” she said. “He can be a 360-degree thinker, and look at all sides of the issue.”
Councilor Jeanne Stewart, who voted against Hansen, said his already full life could be a detriment to his service.
“It is apparent to me that Mr. Hansen does not have an accurate assessment of the time commitment it takes for council,” she said. “It’s more critical than ever that people have time to study the issues.”
The council debated the candidates for about 40 minutes, with Mayor Leavitt and councilors Harris and Pat Campbell backing Hansen, councilors Jack Burkman and Larry Smith behind Rafferty and Stewart in favor of McEnerny-Ogle.
Burkman changed his vote in the end, giving Hansen the majority.
Hansen lost in last August’s primary for retired Councilor Pat Jollotta’s open seat, which was filled by Burkman.
Hansen will have to begin his campaign to keep his seat almost immediately: The city charter requires he run for election in November. Should he win, he will also have to run in November 2011, when Leavitt’s term expires.
Hansen lives in West Minnehaha and is a member of the Vancouver School District Management Advisory Task Force, the Rotary Club of Vancouver and the Clark County Mural Society.
He received his bachelor of arts degree in political science from Washington State University and is pursuing a master’s in business administration from Marylhurst University.