Selections for Keizer’s newly formed Community Diversity Engagement Committee were announced by councilors during their Monday, Dec. 20 regular session meeting. Each city councilor was allowed to appoint one community member to the committee with the mayor being tasked with appointing a youth member and two city councilors.
The Keizer City Council voted to create the nine-person diversity committee at a Nov. 1 city council meeting. During the meeting, the council also voted to give each councilor sole discretion in appointing one member to the committee.
“I would like this person to be a direct extension of me to talk about what I want to talk about through this committee,” Councilor Kyle Juran said at the Nov. 1 council meeting.
The community members selected for the committee were:
•Markey Toombs (selected by Juran, Kim Freeman (selected by councilor Elizabeth Smith), R.W. Taylor (selected by councilor Laura Reid), Claire Snyder (selected by councilor Roland Herrera)and Kacey McCallister (selected by councilor Dan Kohler).
New Keizer councilor Shaney Starr, who was appointed earlier in the meeting, will make her selection during a Jan. 3 council meeting after she’s had a chance to review the applicants.
There were 17 letters submitted by community members interested in serving on the committee. Snyder and Freeman were the only two selections that came from those 17 letters of interest.
Keizer Mayor Cathy Clark chose to appoint Navea Music for the youth position and Reid and Herrera for the two city council positions. Herrera declined and nominated Smith — who accepted.
“I declined the position on the committee as I see the committee as very important for the Keizer community and I can serve that community best by appearing before them as a private citizen instead of a city councilor,” Herrera said in a statement following the meeting. “That way I can talk more openly about my experiences as a Latino citizen and a Latino city councilor as opposed to speaking as a public official. I believe I can serve Keizer best in this way and am looking forward to it.”
Herrera added that he was disappointed that more Latinos, who represent the largest minority group in Keizer, weren’t selected for the committee. The racial makeup of each candidate is unknown to the Keizertimes.
Each non-councilor committee member will be appointed for a three-year term, with initial terms being staggered so that not more than three expire in the same year.
The committee will act in an advisory capacity to the Keizer City Council and hopes to help the council increase engagement in the civic process. Appointees to the committee will be asked to “think broadly in terms of how issues of racism, sexism, ableism, and other discriminatory and prejudicial biases impact all residents in Keizer.”