Angel Reyes Borton, Gladys Rivera, and former Council Member Susan Johnson, have applied for the vacant position on Hood River City Council.
Council will interview all three applicants during the city council meeting on Dec. 9. Council discussed whether to sequester the applicants, talking to them one at a time, and opted to conduct the interviews “round robin” style, with all three candidates in the room together. The method was used in September in choosing from three applicants for the mayor’s position.
Among those voting will be Mayor Kate McBride, who left her council seat vacant when she was appointed in August to fill out the term of mayor. Blackburn resigned in August because he moved to Washington, D.C.
The term for the council position expires in December 2020.
“I seek an appointment to the City Council because I would like to see a diverse, accurate representation of our entire community,” Reyes said. “Everybody that lives in Hood River is affected by the decisions the City Council makes. Being a part of the Latinx and LGBTQ+ community, I currently don’t feel represented. I would like to change that,” said Reyes, who works as store manager at the Starbucks at Hood River Marketplace.
“I have extensive experience in people and business management. I have worked in local fruit packing house with executives, farmers and the labor force,” Reyes said in his application to the city.
Johnson, a retired nurse, said, “I feel I can bring together that disconnect between council and the citizens and deal with that unbalanced portion.” She served on council from 2015-18 and then ran for mayor in 2018, losing to Blackburn by a 53-47 percent margin. “I think the council thinks they’re much more in touch with the community than they are,” Johnson said. She described herself as an advocate for parks while on council and said this year, she helped organize the successful Measure 14-67 and collect signatures. “A resistance has formed, and they (citizens) are alert and watching,” she said. In her application to the city, Johnson said, “I strongly believe the function of city government is that our primary job is to provide for public safety and infrastructure.”
Rivera, a Hood River native, who has worked as a community care coordinator for Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital since 2015, feels the city council needs a voice to represent the Hispanic community, which she estimates comprises half the population. “I want to help create that bridge with other voices who are not part of the process to feel confident about raising their voices,” Rivera said. “I have worked in health care for eight years now, serving many diverse groups, especially those who are most vulnerable. I have worked with multiple stakeholders in local and national polices that help create equitable access,” she wrote in her application.
With McBride on the council are councilors Tim Counihan, Erick Haynie, Jessica Metta, Megan Saunders and Mark Zanmiller.