The Gilroy City Council appointed Marie Blankley to an open council seat at Monday’s regular meeting.
Council members voted earlier this month to appoint a person to the council to replace Paul Kloecker, who died in December.
The new city council member was interviewed alongside three others: Planning Commissioner Tom Fischer, local architect Reid Lerner, and Amanda Rudeen, a stay at home mother with a background in finance who said she moved to the city in 2015. Fischer and Lerner both ran for city council positions during the 2016 General Election.
Council members asked all four applicants a series of questions that included their thoughts on how to create more local jobs, homelessness, the Alexander Street Station apartments, and last year’s failure to obtain a commitment from the Great Wolf Lodge development.
“One of the things the city is currently going through is a period of growth,” Councilman Peter Leroe-Munoz said. “How would you see Gilroy growing and in particular is there a need for additional housing?”
“Gilroy can’t survive as a bedroom community,” Blankley responded. “We need to get some economic development down here and get some jobs here, but then we need housing that can accommodate all those different levels. That’s what is going to help us change our image from being largely a commuter town, which is how I think we’re perceived.”
“We shouldn’t be perceived that way, it doesn’t help us get the businesses down here that we need,” she said. ”We need to address housing at all levels of affordability for people who can work in Gilroy and live here, as opposed to just live here.”
Blankley, a Certified Public Accountant and longtime Gilroy resident, will fill the appointment for only 10 months because the seat is up for reelection in November. While she has indicated she intends to run in the 2018 General Election, Fischer and Lerner have also voiced interest in running campaigns.