PORT ANGELES — The Port Angeles City Council has selected three candidates from a field of 11 to interview and fill the council seat vacated after Mike French’s November election to the Clallam County commission.
From that field of 11, three candidates dropped out prior to consideration. From the eight remaining, the council on Tuesday selected Mark Hodgson, Amy Miller and Andrew Schwab to move ahead with the interview process, which will begin at the council’s next meeting on Jan. 24.
“We have an excellent pool of candidates to choose from, and I was really impressed by the number of applications and the caliber of the people who applied,” Mayor Kate Dexter said.
The council ranked their top five choices from the field of 11 where those with the most votes would move forward for the interview process.
Amy Miller, program director for the ReDiscovery Program at the Olympic Peninsula Community Clinic, has a master’s in social work from the University of New York and has been living and working in Port Angeles since 2015, when she began as a designated crisis responder for Peninsula Behavioral Health.
Miller has worked closely with the City of Port Angeles since 2017, when she joined the ReDiscovery program as a co-responder to behavioral health crises riding along with Port Angeles police officers.
Andrew Schwab, owner of Anime Kat in downtown Port Angeles and a current member of the city’s planning commission and public safety advisory board, has lived in Port Angeles for nearly 20 years.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in applied management from Peninsula College and had been on the board of the Port Angeles Downtown Association until 2015.
Deputy Mayor Brendan Meyer initially opposed moving forward with Schwab, noting that he previously ran for a position on the council and lost.
“I’ve spoken to Drew,” Meyer said. “I think he has done a great job on the planning commission and the public safety advisory board. My only concern is that he has run previously against Brad Collins and the voters chose a different person.”
Said council member Lindsey Schromen-Wawrin: “The voters choose their city council. What we’re doing is choosing who will sit in that chair for the next 11 months or so. Whoever is elected next November will be who sits in that chair for the remaining two years of the previous councilor’s vacancy.”
Mark Hodgson, a Navy veteran and trooper with the State Patrol, grew up in Port Angeles. He enlisted in the Navy after high school graduation and served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, returning to Port Angeles to become a State Patrol trooper in 2006.
He has served the community as a member of the Clallam County Homelessness Task Force, Clallam County Habitat for Humanity, and Peninsula Dispute Resolution Center.
The other five candidates were Jesse Major, a former reporter for the Peninsula Daily News who recently ran unsuccessfully for director of the Clallam County Community Development Department; Rosylen Mangohig, who works in the state Attorney General’s office; Mark Karjalainen, a firefighter/ paramedic for Clallam County District 3 who won the Outstanding Public Service Award from the city in 2006; Nick Merrigan, Jamestown Excavation project manager and Peninsula College professor of media; and Sonia Saldavia, a groomer, trainer and caregiver at Heart of Caregiving Pets LLC.
Reporter Ken Park can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.