By MARINA WATERS
“I think you need a woman,” Suzy Williams, the newest member of the Washington County Commission, said to the board of 23 all-male commissioners in attendance at the July 24 commission meeting just before she won the seat.
Williams was in the running for a spot in the fourth district left vacant by Katie Baker whose departure was announced at the June commission meeting. The other candidates were
Josh Culbert, Jodi Jones and Tracy Teal all of Johnson City.
To win, the candidate had to receive 13 votes. If none of the candidates received 13 votes in a round, the candidate with the least amount of votes drops off and another round of voting begins. After five rounds of voting, and after Culbert was eliminated in the fourth round and Jones in the third, Williams topped with 15 votes while Teal earned eight.
“I was asked to fill this position and I am more than glad to do it,” Williams said. “I will not look at this as a stepping stone for future opportunities in the political arena in the area, but I would be more than glad to research and make wise decisions with you all.”
Among Williams’ 40-plus years of community work, she has been a part of the Johnson City Board of Education, Mountain States Health Alliance, the Children’s Advocacy Center for the sexually abused and Niswonger Children’s Hospital.
Commissioner Tom Krieger nominated Culbert, Commissioner Larry England nominated Jones and Commissioner Lee Chase nominated Teal.
Commissioner Richard Johnson, who also serves the fourth district and was added to the commission in February, nominated Williams during the meeting.
“I’d like to point out that she’s resided in Washington County, I believe, longer than any of the other candidates and has lived in the fourth district for 40 plus years,” Johnson said of Williams. “She knows the people of the fourth district.”
Before Commissioner Baker vacated her seat, Johnson filled a spot left by Commissioner David Tomita who departed from the commission to focus on his new role as the Mayor of Johnson City.
Baker nominated Jones during that meeting to join her as a commissioner of the fourth district.
Williams is now the sole woman on the board of commissioners.