SEQUIM — Sequim City Council members unanimously voted to fill a vacant seat 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 on the seven-member council after the death of John Miller on Nov. 29. Council members reviewed qualifications in an executive session before convening a public meeting to vote. The vote was taken without discussion.
Councilman 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 wants 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 from 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 within city limits.
City Council members asked questions of the applicants focusing on potential conflicts of interests, Sequim’s quality of life, ways to communicate better 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, as well with its access to natural resources, locally made products, festivals and its weather makes it a great place to live.
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 might 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 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.
With her connections, States said she’d be willing to help Sequim identify some grant opportunities for sustainability options going forward too.
Along with selecting States, City Council members also unanimously voted to re-elect Dennis Smith as mayor and 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.
Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected].