The city of La Center has a new mayor.
On Wednesday, the city council appointed Position 4 Councilor Thomas Strobehn to the position left open when Greg Thornton stepped down at the end of March. Councilor Liz Cerveny served as mayor pro tem in the interim.
Strobehn was sworn in during the council’s regular meeting Wednesday night.
“I have learned so much in the short five years I have been on the city council. I am known to ask tough questions that many members of the community wanted answers for. Some have agreed with this and some haven’t, but I have never stopped working for all the residents of the city,” Strobehn told the council and audience at the meeting.
Strobehn was first appointed to the La Center City Council in September 2018. He was one of three candidates interviewed to serve former Councilor Joe Valenzuela’s term, who left in August of that year. Strobehn was then elected to a four-year term in 2019 after running unchallenged.
“With so many challenges and hurdles on the horizon, I know I can make a difference and bring a new perspective to the city as mayor,” he said.
Strobehn said among his priorities for the remainder of the year will be working with city staff and surrounding communities to implement police protection that works for La Center, now and in the future.
“We cannot do this with our current financial status. Our cardrooms have provided the majority of money for the city, (for) which we will always be grateful and will work with them for years to come, but we must diversify our income so that we are not reliant on one source,” he said. “The city staff and I will work tirelessly to bring in other business and industry to the city, expanding the junction and growing the downtown.”
Strobehn and his wife own Fastech Solutions in Vancouver, an information technology service company providing IT, website and security services. Strobehn founded the company in his garage in 2011. It now has more than 20 full-time employees.
He and his wife have been married for over 20 years and have two children. The family has lived in La Center since 2006. With school-aged children of his own, he said supporting education is vital.
“I believe that the future of La Center lies with our children, so I want to expand that and work with them, assist them where we can and support their needs as much as possible,” Strobehn said.
Strobehn previously worked for Panasonic and is currently an advisory member for Clark College. He and his wife started a scholarship program in 2018 for single parents at Clark College. Strobehn said he is a huge advocate for civil servants, veterans and children and volunteers his time and resources to support them.
“Our community is growing and with it comes many obstacles. Not being a career politician, I know I will still have a lot to learn but I am up for the task at hand,” Strobehn said.