A state patrol sergeant. An art house theater director. A boutique cake shop owner. A real estate broker. A retired teacher. A hair salon owner. A political consultant.
They represent a spectrum of Tacoma residents, but each shares a common goal: Winning appointment to the City Council.
The seven candidates beat a city deadline this week for applying to fill the unexpired term of outgoing Tacoma City Councilman Jake Fey.
“We have a solid group of applicants with a wide range of experience and interests,” Mayor Marilyn Strickland said in an email Friday.
Fey, a two-term councilman who won election to the state House of Representatives in November, officially vacates his District 2 city seat on Dec. 31.
The council expects to make an appointment to the vacant council seat on Jan. 29.
The chosen candidate will serve the final year of Fey’s term and will make an annual salary of $41,269 for the part-time council position.
In alphabetical order, the candidates are:
Monica A. (Hunter) Alexander
Alexander is a 16-year Washington state trooper who worked as its public relations and media officer and became the first African American woman to attain the rank of sergeant in the agency’s history.
She has attended North Texas University, holds a cosmetology license and is now taking classes at the Evergreen State College.
Alexander has never held political office, but she filed as a Tacoma City Council candidate for the District 2 seat in 2005, records show.
“My experience as a public servant has afforded me leadership opportunities and decision making skills that would be advantageous to the City Council and the citizens of Tacoma,” she wrote in her cover letter.
Cowan is the executive director of the Grand Cinema, the nonprofit theater downtown.
Formerly a loan offcer and financial analyst, Cowan landed a job as an assistant to the minor league baseball Texas League in 1997. A year later, he came to work for the Tacoma Rainiers as an assistant general manager and director of finance. He was tapped to head the Grand Cinema in 2006.
Cowan holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from The University of North Texas, Arlington; and a master’s in international management from The American Graduate School of International Management.
Cowan has not held elected public office, but won election to a four-year term as a Democratic Party precinct chair in 1988. He also sought a City Council appointment in 2009 and was named one of eight finalists from a pool of 44 applicants.
“Working with constituents and fellow council members to help solve problems would be the greatest satisfaction a position could offer,” Cowan wrote.
D’Aniello is a high school computer teacher for the Bethel School District who with his family runs Celebrity Cake Studio in Tacoma.
Over a 21-year career in education, D’Aniello has held teaching jobs in Guam and at the Navajo Nation for the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from the Southern Connecticut State University, attained an English as a Second Language endorsement from the University of Guam, and holds a master’s in education administration from City University, Seattle.
D’Aniello – whose personal interests include tae kwon do, baking and technology – has never held elected office.
“My experience as a teacher and training as an administrator has taught me how to build strong relationships with all parties in an organization,” D’Aniello wrote.
Edmonds is a Windermere Real Estate broker who is also the current chairwoman of the 27th Legislative District Democrats.
Edmonds moved to Tacoma in 2007 to take a job as an assistant long-term care ombudsman for the nonprofit Multi-Service Center.
She holds a bachelor’s in business administration from San Jose State University, and a master’s in public administration from the University of Washington.
Edmonds served in the Legislature from 1999 to 2001 as a state representative from Shoreline and on the King County Council from 2002 to 2005. Edmonds also has experience on various boards and commissions, including the Shoreline Planning Commission and the Pierce County Conservation Voters directors’ board. She currently sits on the Northeast Tacoma Neighborhood Council.
She also was among 44 applicants vying for appointment to the City Council in 2009.
“I am passionate about good government – one that is responsive to the needs of its residents with a minimum of bureaucracy,” she wrote.
Higley worked for more than 30 years as a teacher in the Federal Way School District and now serves on the Pierce County Planning Commission.
After he retired from teaching in 2009, Higley founded the conservative political group, The Tacoma 9/12 Project, based on a national movement started by broadcaster Glenn Beck. In 2010, Higley unsuccessfully ran as a Republican against incumbent Democrat Jeannie Darneille for the 27th Legislative District state House seat.
For the past two years, he has served as chair of the 27th Legislative District Republicans.
Higley holds a bachelor’s in education from Lewis and Clark College and a master’s in education from Gonzaga University.
For the past 15 years, Higley also has volunteered on a Spanaway-based team seeking to set a world land speed record with the “North American Eagle,” a jet car capable of speeds up to 800 miles per hour.
“Because of these experiences, and my deep roots in the area as well as our greater community,” Higley wrote, “I believe I am uniquely qualified to represent the citizens of my district on the council.”
Lecy-Davis is the owner of the downtown Embellishment Multispace Salon and serves on a variety of local boards and commissions.
Among them, she is the co-founder and former chair of Go Local Tacoma, a past chair of the Downtown Merchants Group and currently co-chairs the campaign for Tacoma Public Schools’ February bond measure.
Lecy-Davis holds a retail management certificate from the Clover Park Technical College and a cosmetology license from the Gene Juarez Academy. She also has a certification from Strategies Advanced Management Development and was a member of the American Leadership Forum class in 2010.
She has not held public office, but sought appointment to the council in 2009 and was named one of eight finalists among 44 applicants.
“One of my highest priorities will be to protect the unique neighborhoods while fostering smart and sustainable growth within our commercial and mixed use centers, while being good stewards to the environmental treasure Commencement Bay,” Lecy-Davis wrote.
Thoms is founder and president of the public affairs consulting firm The Navigation Group.
He’s also a veteran of the Persian Gulf War and a Navy reservist, now serving as a public affairs officer and commander of the Navy Office of Information.
Before launching his own firm, Thoms worked as vice president of Tacoma-based Thompson Smitch Consulting and as a deputy state director to Democratic U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell.
He also ran a congressional candidate’s campaign and served as a legislative and congressional aide.
Thoms has served on various boards, including the Tacoma Metro Parks Foundation. He holds a political science degree from State University of New York and a certificate from the Department of Defense Information School. He also attended the Joint Professional Military Education Program at National Defense University and is now working toward a master’s in organizational leadership at Gonzaga University.
“I am confident in my skills and abilities to foster robust and trusting relationships that will ensure community cohesiveness so that Tacoma can be agile enough to take advantage of the opportunities that will drive our economy for the next century,” Thoms wrote.