Wednesday, November 21, 2001
Laura Mann, who won 98 percent of the vote in her unopposed election campaign for a four-year term on the Bingen City Council, will soon become the newest member of the council.
Mann will take office in January, after the term of incumbent David Spratt expires. Spratt declined to seek another term.
Final returns from the Klickitat County Auditor's Office, updated Nov. 16, show Mann with 49 votes, or 98 percent of the votes cast. There was one write-in vote, which represented two percent of the total.
The councilor-elect said she is ready to go to work.
"I want to make sure the plans our citizens have asked for are being followed and acted upon," said Mann, who has served on a citizens advisory committee that helped formulate Bingen's downtown revitalization plans. "That's already started, and Brian (Prigel) has done a fabulous job."
Mann will become just the third woman in history to serve on the Bingen City Council.
Ironically, all three women have joined the five-member council within the last year. Up until Jan. 4, 2000 -- when Dixie Thiesies took office after winning election in November 1999 -- Bingen had never had a woman representing the city. Teresa Schuemann, the second woman to take a spot on the council, was sworn in on Nov. 5. Schuemann replaced Thiesies, who moved out of Bingen.
When Mann takes the oath of office in January 2002, there will be two female council members serving together for the first time in Bingen's history.
Mayor Brian Prigel said he was happy to see the barriers falling.
"It will be interesting to have the new perspective," Prigel said.
Mann said she believes it is very important for the city to get a strong subdivision ordinance in place soon.
"It's good to have growth, but it's good to have it well-planned," she explained.
Another area she is concerned with is finding businesses to fill the empty storefronts downtown.
Mann, 42, has lived in Bingen for about five years. She works at A Salon Day Spa Boutique in Hood River, while her husband, John, is a general contractor and owner of Mann Made Construction, a Bingen-based business. They have a 2-year-old son.
Prigel said Mann has "taken a serious interest in the community," adding that he was glad she ran for the position after twice failing to be appointed to open seats on the council.
"She'll do well for us," Prigel said. "She will be a good representative for Bingen."