Without discussion, Sequim City Councilors unanimously voted to fill the seventh seat on Monday night with a business development manager and co-owner of Wind Rose Cellars.
Sequim’s Jennifer States was chosen from five candidates to fill the vacant seat following the passing of councilor John Miller on Nov. 29 last year.
Councilor Ted Miller made the lone nomination among the candidates for States to fill the position through Dec. 31, 2019.
States said she’s always known she’s wanted to serve the community in some capacity and her concern was balancing city council with her full-time job as Business Development Manager for DNV GL – Energy Advisory America.
Going in, she said her biggest vision is focusing on smart growth.
“I feel we can grow a sustainability perspective from both economy and environment. I feel we can balance both of those and continue to have Sequim grow and keep that small town feel that keeps it so wonderful,” she said.
States was chosen over fellow applicants Bernard “Buddy” Ray, David Eaton, Ron Fairclough, and Richard Fleck.
City staff said two other applicants were not considered because they didn’t live in city limits.
City councilors asked questions round robin of the applicants focusing on potential conflicts, Sequim’s quality of life, ways to better communicate with constituents, and pinpointing issues in the city.
As for issues with the city, States said Sequim lacks sustainable jobs due to many factors such as housing issues. She also said residents tell her the streets and sidewalks lack good lighting at night.
“We’ve heard people don’t want to drive out at night,” she said.
“We want to make more walkable communities with better nighttime street and sidewalk lighting. There’s a way to do it too and make sure it’s not too bright above.”
States said Sequim’s sense of community makes it a great place to live as well with its access to natural resources, locally made products, festivals, and its weather.
As for any conflict of interests with her winery and bistro, States said her husband David Volmut handles operations and she’d recuse herself if there was an issue such as about sign code changes that may impact the business.
In her current work, States said she focuses on business development for distributed energy resource projects including large scale energy storage, microgrids and more. One of her projects includes helping the state’s ferry system look to run on electric propulsion.
Her recent work experience includes two years at the Port of Port Angeles as director of business development, serving as the vice-president of external affairs for the Composite Recycling Technology Center concurrently with her job at the port, and nearly seven years with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory as program manager of the Wind & Water Power Technologies and Renewable Energy for National Security.
States said she’d be willing to help Sequim identify some grant opportunities for sustainability options going forward too.
Along with selecting States, city councilors alsochose unanimously to reelect Dennis Smith as mayor and appoint Candace Pratt, former mayor, as deputy mayor, both for two years.
Prior to the meeting, both Ted Miller and Brandon Janisse were sworn into office.
For more information on the Sequim City Council, visit www.sequimwa.gov or call 360-683-4139.