Starr selected as new Keizer city councilor in split vote

Shaney Starr participated in her first Keizer City Council regular session meeting Monday following her appointment. (KEIZERTIMES/Joey Cappelletti).

A split Keizer City Council voted Monday evening to appoint Shaney Starr to a seat on council that has been vacant since Ross Day stepped down early in November. Starr will fill the role until at least January of 2025, when Day’s term is set to expire.

“In a special session that concluded at 6:30 this evening, we interviewed six applicants for the position and I have to tell you, once again, Keizer showed up. Incredibly talented, capable people, all of whom were willing to step up and take a role as being a city councilor for the city of Keizer. The city council has selected Shaney Starr as our new city councilor number two,” Keizer Mayor Cathy Clark said at the beginning of a regular session that immediately followed the special session. 

The vote to appoint Starr came at the conclusion of a public special session meeting Monday where a total of six candidates were each given five minutes to speak in front of council. In addition to Starr, LaTonya Gibbs, Don’ll McBride, Rich Rodriguez, Michele Roland-Schwartz and Hersch Sangster were also seeking the appointment. 

Anthony J. Rosilez withdrew after he was unable to attend the meeting due to business and Julianne Jackson was removed from consideration after not meeting residency requirements.  

Candidates were asked to speak about themselves in addition to answering a list of pre-written questions submitted by councilors. Questions included the candidate’s thoughts on diversity in leadership, ability to engage with other viewpoints and how a candidate would represent the people of Keizer.

“I will represent Keizer and our citizens by listening, asking questions, studying the issues and asking more questions. Also, engaging in civil discourse, which I think our society has sadly forgotten how to do,” Starr said during her remarks. 

Following the speeches, Keizer councilors each submitted ballots with their top choice for the seat. The council’s first vote did not provide the majority needed, with three votes going to Starr, two to Roland-Schwartz and one for Sangster. A majority of the six-person council, which would be four votes, had to vote for one person in order for them to be selected. 

The second vote, which only included Starr and Roland-Schwartz, gave the seat to Starr — with her votes from councilors Dan Kohler, Elizabeth Smith, Kyle Juran and Clark. Roland-Schwartz received votes from councilors Roland Herrera and Laura Reid. 

“There will be times when I don’t take the popular position and that’s okay. But at the end of the day, if I can look my fellow citizens, my councilors, and myself in the eye and know that I treated people with dignity and respect, then I will have done my job,” said Starr. 

Starr has lived in Keizer for 13 years and has served as the executive director of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Marion County for the last five years. She has worked in the nonprofit sector for more than 20 years and currently serves as President of the Oregon CASA Network, Chair of the Marion County Commission on Children and Families, President of the Board for Joys of Living Assistance Dogs and as a member of both the Corner Peace and Community Resource Trust Board of Directors.

News tip? Contact reporter Joey Cappelletti at [email protected] or 616-610-3093.