The list is in: 55 people have applied to fill the vacant Tacoma City Council seat left open by Victoria Woodards, who resigned last month to run for mayor.
They range in political experience, profession and name recognition.
Among the 55 applying for at-large position 6 are activists, community organizers, former elected officials, people who have never sought public office, lifelong Tacoma residents and one local celebrity known for his diehard love of the Seattle SuperSonics.
The at-large council seat, held by Woodards since she was elected in 2009, was open to eligible voters from all over the city who have been Tacoma residents for at least two years. Their applications were due Friday afternoon.
Woodards has said she probably won’t endorse or make recommendations on her replacement, but noted her departure leaves the body with only one female member: Mayor Marilyn Strickland.
The City Council discussed the qualifications of applicants at Tuesday’s study session. Over the next few weeks, the Government Performance and Finance Committee will whittle down the list to a handful of finalists, whom the City Council will interview at its study session Jan. 24, with a vote expected later that day.
As the process for picking Woodards’ successor begins, here is a look at some familiar names from the pool of applicants.
A lifelong Tacoma resident, Scott is a community organizer and a leader of the Tacoma Action Collective, which has worked to bring attention to police shootings of civilians. As part of her work, she has urged Tacomans to continue to speak out on racial and policing issues. Scott works at YWCA Pierce County as a children’s advocate.
Burns is a retired Tacoma architect who ran as a write-in candidate in last year’s Pierce County Council District 4 race, which he lost to incumbent Councilwoman Connie Ladenburg. Burns, who ran as an independent, helped lead an effort to stop Pierce County from constructing a multimillion dollar general services building.
Morken helped lead the campaign for 15 Now Tacoma, the 2015 movement to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour in Tacoma overnight. That movement failed: Voters instead approved a phased-in $12 minimum wage that year, but it is credited with bringing the minimum wage debate to the forefront of Tacoma politics. Morken, who identifies as a socialist, is an occupational therapist.
Grossman, a real estate developer who has been a proponent of revitalization in the Hilltop, is the former president and a current board member of the Hilltop Business Association. He also serves on the advisory board of Spaceworks Tacoma and has served on local and statewide affordable housing advisory boards. He is a former member of the Shoreline City Council.
Doyle-Enneking ran in the primary for the City Council District 1 seat in 2015 against Councilman Anders Ibsen and high school teacher John Hines. Ibsen, the incumbent, won the seat, and Doyle-Enneking got the fewest votes of the three. Doyle-Enneking is a business owner who has worked as a marriage and family therapist.
Walker is a former two-term city councilwoman in Tacoma’s District 3, which encompasses the Hilltop and parts of South Tacoma, including the mall. Her term ended at the end of 2015, and a year later she’s coming back for more. Walker is the executive director of the Fair Housing Association of Washington and serves on the Hilltop Engagement Committee.
Cowan is the executive director of the Grand Cinema, the nonprofit theater downtown, and has been since 2006. In 1998, he came to Tacoma from Texas to work for the Tacoma Rainiers as an assistant general manager and director of finance. He also applied for the City Council seat vacated by Jake Fey. Councilman Robert Thoms was appointed by the council to that seat in 2013.
Hayes, whose 17-year-old son Billy Ray Shirley III was killed in 2011 at a party in the Nalley Valley, was much of the driving force behind the movement to get a new $29 million community center built on the Tacoma’s East Side. She’s the executive director of a foundation created in her son’s name.
As a member of the Hilltop Action Coalition, Mosesly helped spearhead the Hilltop Action Journal, a free community newspaper, this summer. Mosesly was on the Tacoma 2025 Advisory Committee and is a member of the Pierce County Black Collective. He works for United Way of Pierce County as manager of family stability initiatives.
Longtime Hilltop resident and founding director of Peace Community Center, Hanawalt was recognized at a White House ceremony in 2016 as a “Champion of Change for Summer Opportunity” for his leadership in the center’s summer learning program. He’s been a longtime advocate for the Hilltop community.
Kristopher Brannon (the “Sonics Guy”)
Christopher A. Gruber
Maria Crestina Marez
John Erling Mork
Justin Van Dyk
Heber O. (Chip) Van Gilder III