Bremerton lawmakers selected retired attorney Lori Wheat to replace Tony Hillman on the city council during a public meeting Wednesday night.
Wheat, 43, was one of four finalists for the position, which she will hold at least through the November general election later this year.
Hillman announced on December 19 he’d taken an accounting job with the City of Port Townsend and would be vacating his seat. He had represented District 4 in west Bremerton since last January.
During a public interview with the council, Wheat said her top three priorities for the city were to improve its streets and sidewalks, help institute business-friendly policies and address parking and traffic concerns.
She and her husband Andreas Pitsiri have lived in Bremerton since 2014. A former family law attorney, Wheat graduated from the University of Oklahoma law school with honors in 2001 according to Martindale-Hubbell, an attorney directory.
She and Pitsiri are early retirees, Wheat said, which she said would grant her plenty of time to devote to the city lawmaking post.
“I have ample time and a flexible schedule,” she said.
Wheat was selected via a 4-2 vote of the council, following a runoff.
The decision marks the second time the District 4 seat has been filled by appointment since last year. Wheat’s predecessor was also appointed by the council after the district’s former representative, Greg Wheeler, was elected mayor.
Kitsap Regional Library officer Jaime Forsyth received two votes in the final tally from councilors Pat Sullivan and Michael Goodnow. Small business owner Darryl Riley and attorney Quinn Dennehy were also considered for the job.
Following a 3-3 tie in the runoff vote, council member Eric Younger switched his vote from Forsyth to Wheat, solidifying Wheat’s appointment.
Wheat said she was “feeling great” after hearing the council’s decision. She was sworn in on Thursday afternoon.
“I’m very excited to be an asset to Bremerton and District 4,” she said.
The next city council meeting will be held on Wednesday, January 16 at 5:30 p.m. in the city council chambers.
Gabe Stutman is a reporter with the Kitsap News Group. Follow him on Twitter @kitsapgabe.