The Eatonville Town Council elected a new council member during the April 22 meeting. Emily McFadden, an Eatonville resident and business owner, will fill the seat vacated by a previous councilmember.

The position became available after former council member James Schrimpsher's sudden resignation in March. Schrimpsher cited a variety of reasons for his resignation, including disapproval over the council's decision to allow retail marijuana into the town and a desire to spend more time with his family.

McFadden was one of three applicants for the position, the others being Joe Hagen, who has been active in the community outside of the government as an activist, and Will Moncrease, a local business owner and veteran. Applicants were asked about what interested them in the position, if they were aware of the time commitments involved and if they were willing to put aside personal beliefs in their decision making process.

McFadden said she would have not have any difficulty in putting aside personal interests during the council meeting and that she was willing to meet the expectations of the position.

Councilmember Bill Dunn emphasized the decision was a difficult one and that all applicants would have been capable members of the council. The unanimous vote for McFadden was announced after an executive session. 

Born and raised in Eatonville, McFadden has spent most of her life in the area. She owns Gypsy Wagon Espresso, a family business that has been operating for 26 years. She purchased the business from her mother four years ago. Prior, she worked for a telecommunication community in the billing and finance department.

She says her interest in public service started when she began working on a new location for her business.

"I really started getting more involved and going to more meetings and learning more about how it all works, and it was just really intriguing to me," McFadden said. "So, when the position became available, I was excited to put in an application."

She also said that she was not worried about any conflicts with her position on the council and her business. 

"If there's anything that comes up, like say, code wise, that we may need to discuss and vote on that might directly impact my business, I would just recuse myself from that conversation so that I'm just completely out of the picture," McFadden said. 

When asked about her stance on a retail of marijuana in the town, she said she understood the controversial nature of the subject.

 "There are so many people that are for it and so many people that are against it and I don't see marijuana being any more dangerous than alcohol. If we're going to have a liquor store in town, I don't know that I would see a marijuana store any different," she said. "I obviously don't want my daughter to have it in her face, but I do believe we are in a changing world. I think that it's become more mainstream, it's out there and now it's just how to control that. How do we manage that so that it doesn't ruffle the feathers? There's so many people that are so anti-[marijuana] and that's okay but seeing how it is legal in the state of Washington and there is not ban in the town of Eatonville as far as operating a retail store, then I think that we have to zone it properly."

McFadden will serve until next year's election. All applicants were encouraged by the council to run in the election.