ENTERPRISE — Eric Stangel hopes to promote business growth in Enterprise once he’s sworn in as the Enterprise City Council’s newest member.
Stangel will be sworn in at the council’s first meeting of the new year Jan. 9, when city officials who won reelection in Tuesday’s election — Mayor Ashley Sullivan and Councilors David Elliott and Corey Otten — also will be sworn in.
Stangel mounted a vigorous write-in campaign and won 768-238 in results released late Tuesday, Nov. 8 over Devon Maxwell Sundman, who was listed on the ballot and who goes by Maxwell.
“I plan on trying to encourage business in the Enterprise area,” Stangel said the day after the election.
He said he wants to “help continue the course. … For the most part, administrators do a good job. I want to make sure the budget is handled well and tax dollars are put to good use.”
CommitteesStangel said he’s not sure yet which council committees he will serve on. Such assignments are made by the mayor, according to city Administrator Lacey McQuead. She said some councilors request specific committee assignments and the mayor often complies.
However, McQuead said, city officials try to rotate councilors among committees year to year, so councilors become familiar with all city departments.
McQuead said new councilors often are given a lighter committee assignment — “one that doesn’t require a lot of meetings or have a lot of day-to-day activities, (such as) Airport Committee, Motel Tax Committee, etc.”
But each councilor serves on multiple committees, she said.
“So it is common for a new councilor to serve on a main department committee, in addition to being placed on a lighter committee,” she said. “The great thing about committees is that there are three councilors to each one, thus the experienced councilors are able to assist a new councilor.”
Stangel said he doesn’t expect to be assigned to a committee that requires a lot of responsibility.
“Where I will be new, they wouldn’t have me on the administrative stuff because that would be more involved,” he speculated. “I’ll just try to help out the best wherever I can.”
“I want to be in on any of (the committees) and want to learn,” he said. “I’m really open to any of them.”
Victory in loss
Stangel works at his family’s Stangel Industries, and manages the shop that does heavy equipment repair and fabrication.
Maxwell works as a paralegal and is a full-time student at Northwestern University studying public policy and administration. She serves on the city’s Planning Commission and said after the election she will continue to do so.
“I’ll continue to do other volunteer work like coaching volleyball. I’ll continue being a public servant in any capacity this community wants to have me in.”
Stangel missed the deadline for getting on the ballot and said he entered the race in response to social media posts by Maxwell that he thought didn’t reflect the community.
Maxwell said the social media posts, which have been removed, were part of a research project she’s working for her university master’s degree program.
She said those posts made her electoral loss for City Council a personal win.
Maxwell said the TikTok posts were part of a research project she’s working on in her master’s degree studies at Northwestern University to study the “effects of gender or sex and perceived political party affiliation.”
“The election proved my master’s thesis,” she said. “It was looking at the reactions to political rhetoric and the differences between conservatives and Democrats. … The community didn’t like what my videos stated.”
“It’s a win for me personally and it’s a win for the community of researchers in public policy who are looking at this subject right now,” Maxwell said. “There are a lot of studies being published on this.”
Maxwell said she spent about $530 on her campaign and donated $500 to Safe Harbors, a domestic violence service in Enterprise. She said she was a victim of domestic violence when she lived in Portland and sees Safe Harbors as a group that helps women in similar circumstances.
She said she was aware of $9,000 that Stangel had raised and urged him to donate to Safe Harbors, too.
Stangel, however, said he has not yet determined the status of his campaign accounts and has yet to dissolve them.
In the only other contested race in Wallowa County, incumbent Wallowa City Councilor Karen Josi defeated challenger Quinn T. Berry by a 326-106 tally.