Washougal, WA — When Washougal City Coucilman, Dan Coursey, resigned his seat effective March 31, it set in motion an open process to fill the vacancy. That process ended Monday night with the appointment of longtime Washougal resident, Ernie Suggs, who was sworn in by Mayor Molly Coston.
A total of eight candidates applied for the open seat, and all appeared before the council Monday night to present themselves to the councilors. In a final 4-2 open vote, Suggs won.
“To be honest, it surprised me that I was sworn in at the end of the session,” Suggs said. “I applied two days ahead of the deadline, and we all presented ourselves to the council. I was fourth in line, and we all waited in a small room until it was our time. After that first round was done, the council voted on the top two candidates. Two other were tied for number two, then we talked again to the council, and answered one question from each council member. They voted agin, and it was 4-2 that they chose me.”
Suggs was encouraged to apply by several Camas and Washougal City Councilors.
“So, I thought, OK, I’ll give it a shot,” said Suggs. “To be candid, I was humbled and excited they chose me.”
Suggs is concerned about growth control and wants Washougal to build an adequate infrastructure to avoid major traffic congestion. He’s also a big proponent of inter-agency cooperation, local schools, and small business.
”I’m all about small business empowerment, and finding ways to help off-set the cost of running the city with a stronger tax base,” said Suggs. “We don’t have a lot of ways to bring in funds for the city.”
Suggs has lived in Washougal for 42 years, with his wife, Pat, who are the parents of six daughters, and grandparents of 13 grandsons. He worked for the Camas School District for 32 years as the Camas Community Education Director. He retired 10 years ago.
The council will get to fill another open seat when Washougal City Councilor, Joyce Lindsay, retires from public service effective May 31. The applicant process will begin anew. The city attorney said each council member could nominate for the next vacancy on the Washougal City Council.