Oak Harbor City Council appointed substitute teacher Millie Goebel to fill a vacancy created after councilmember Bill Larsen moved outside of city limits.
Goebel was one of four Oak Harbor residents who applied to fill Larsen’s seat after he resigned.
During a live-streamed meeting on Wednesday, members of council interviewed the four applicants.
Wallin Funeral Home Director Brian Stucky, Navy veteran Earl Plumlee Jr. and local activist Jabari Diggs were the other three applicants.
Goebel was raised in Oak Harbor and graduated from Oak Harbor High School in 2011. Afterward, she attended the University of Washington, graduating in 2015. At the UW, she was president of the Panhellenic Association. When she returned to the island, she worked as a sales representative for the Penn Cove Shellfish.
Currently, she works as a substitute teacher for the Oak Harbor School District.
“I was born and raised in Oak Harbor, so I feel deeply connected to this community,” Goebel said. “A lot of the adults that I grew up around were really involved in the community and I kind of watched them live that saying ‘what you put into it is what you get out of it.’”
Goebel added that she wants to “put a lot” into the community so that she, her peers and the community may benefit.
Young professionals are the future of Oak Harbor, Goebel said, explaining she saw serving on the council as an opportunity to represent the perspective of younger people.
While she doesn’t have a background in municipal government, Goebel said she is interested in parks and affordable housing.
Parks are the heart and soul of a community, Goebel said, adding that, while growing up, she frequented Windjammer Park and was impressed with the council’s work with the sewage treatment plant.
“I grew up with the old one, and now you can walk through Windjammer Park and you don’t smell anything, and it’s really nice,” Goebel said. “The same with Windjammer Park. You know, there was no splash park when I was growing up … it didn’t look anything remote what it looks like now. It’s so beautiful.”
Goebel said she also falls in a segment of the population looking to buy his or her first home.
“It’s a little challenging to buy your first home in Oak Harbor right now,” she said. “There’s not a whole lot out there, and if there is, it’s pretty expensive.”
Goebel said she wants to work with this particular council because, she said, its members remain civil even when they have differences of opinion.
“I think that’s really important to be effective public servants,” Goebel said. “You have to be able to agree to disagree and then move on and make something happen.”
Goebel will serve in a temporary capacity until November 2021, when the seat comes up for election.