After six finalist interviews, the Vancouver City Council only needed one nomination to make a decision: Erik Paulsen was the unanimous choice for Vancouver’s next city councilor.

During a special meeting Monday night, the Council appointed Erik Paulsen to the Position 2 open seat, which was vacant after Alishia Topper resigned to begin her term as Clark County treasurer.

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“It’s an honor and a privilege,” Paulsen told OPB after the announcement. “It’s just so gratifying to know that the Council members saw the qualities in me that they were looking for in a colleague and have given me this great opportunity to serve with them.”

Erik Paulsen, second from right, is Vancouver's new City Council member. The Council appointed Paulsen during a special meeting on Monday, Jan. 14, 2019.

Erik Paulsen, second from right, is Vancouver's new City Council member. The Council appointed Paulsen during a special meeting on Monday, Jan. 14, 2019.

Molly Solomon / OPB

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In his finalist interview, Paulsen highlighted his background in business and finance, as well as an active role in city government. He served on the city’s planning commission for the last eight years, and as chair for six of them.

He was also a member of the Affordable Housing Task Force, a committee organized in 2015 that made policy recommendations to protect vulnerable renters and increase the city’s supply of affordable housing.

Paulsen was among 18 people who applied for the vacancy, and was one of six finalists selected for interviews. Audrey Mattoon, Maureen Montague, David Regan, Adam Aguilera and Diana Perez were also on the short list.

Paulsen was also a finalist for the Position 1 vacancy that was filled last year by Laurie Lebowsky. He said serving on the City Council is something he's been considering for the past four years.

“I sit before you at the culmination of a many-year deliberative process about whether or not it would be appropriate for me to serve on the City Council,” Paulsen told the Council during his public interview. “This is not an obligation that I have taken lightly.”

Paulsen will serve on the Council for the remainder of the year, but will need to win re-election in November to finish out the term. He told councilors he has already assembled a group of advisors to help kickstart his campaign.

Paulsen will be sworn into office Jan. 28 at the next scheduled City Council meeting.

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