ASHLAND - Angela Woodward will be the next representative of the city's fourth ward on Ashland City Council.
With a unanimous vote among the council's four remaining members, Woodward was chosen Tuesday to finish the remainder of Al Farnam's term.
Woodward, who works as executive director of Ashland County Cancer Association, was chosen from a pool of four applicants for the position. Other candidates included Kathleen Chandler, Alice P. Farnam and Sandra Tunnell.
Council members interviewed each of the candidates for about 15 minutes in executive session Tuesday and then spent about an hour discussing the applicants before reconvening in a public session to announce their decision.
"We had four extremely well-qualified candidates to consider-- all women, by the way-- and it was not an easy decision," council president Steve Workman said. "That's why it took us so much discussion to come to this decision."
After the meeting, Workman elaborated on why Woodward rose to the top of the pack.
"We felt Angela Woodward brought to the council a level of community service and maturity as well as a level of independent thinking that was appreciated," Workman said. "She has experience in the community. A lot of people know her and a lot of people in her ward know her. We saw value in that.
"She's very well spoken. She has financial ability in budgeting and things like that from the cancer association that we feel will be helpful as a council member."
Council member Dan Lawson said while all four candidates were strong, it was Woodward's "soft skills" that "bubbled to the top."
Lawson said he also appreciated Woodward's vision for the city.
"She came up with some good ideas, and we liked that. She had new thoughts and suggestions for us, and we appreciate that," he said. "Not that the others couldn't, but she did."
Woodward said she never imagined she would serve in a public office.
"I have always said I don't do politics, but this is not a political seat," Woodward said.
Though she has little interest in the politics of public office, she is drawn to the idea of public service.
"I am always looking for ways to serve my community. When this opportunity presented itself, I just saw it as another way to serve," she said. "I currently serve at my church. I serve at my work. I just think it's my gift to serve."
Woodward said she believes her background will help her relate to the people in her ward. The 4th Ward includes much of the city's north end-- most neighborhoods north of Sandusky Street, Main Street and Cleveland Avenue.
"I want to be a liaison between my ward and the city council," she said. "I want to let everybody in my ward to know they have a voice to come to city council. I was unaware that that was an option, so I want to let them know that as well."
Asked what she looks forward to in her new role, Woodward said she is eager to see the former Pump House Ministries property, which is in her ward, cleaned up.
"My daughter lives on that road, so I pass it every day," she said. "I can't wait to see it cleaned up, and I'm excited that it's going to be cleaned up and that there could possibly be apartments or housing there."
In addition to her job with Ashland County Cancer Association, Woodward also serves as secretary at Compassion Free Will Baptist Church and as a fundraising coordinator at Ashland Christian School.
Her past experience includes roles as executive director of the Loudonville Chamber of Commerce, office administrator for Ashland County Cancer Association, patient medical assistance program coordinator at Ashland Christian Health Center and therapeutic recreation director at Kingston of Ashland.
She holds an associates degree in applied science from North Central State College.
Woodward will be sworn in at the council's next meeting, 7 p.m. June 4 at the Ashland City Schools administrative office and will serve through Dec. 31, 2021.