Robin Black tapped for Langley City Council seat

Robin Black participates in interviews for a city council seat Monday. She was chosen to fill the seat occupied by Margot Jerome, who has resigned. - Ben Watanabe / The Record
Robin Black participates in interviews for a city council seat Monday. She was chosen to fill the seat occupied by Margot Jerome, who has resigned.
— image credit: Ben Watanabe / The Record

Langley Mayor Fred McCarthy cast the tie-breaking vote Monday night in the nomination of Robin Black as the newest city council member.

The Langley City Council was split 2-2 after a 15-minute executive session and a 30-minute interview in public. Councilman Bruce Allen was absent, leading to the tie between candidates Robin Black and Sharon Emerson to fill Margot Jerome’s soon-to-be vacated position number two.

Councilwoman Rene Neff and Councilman Thomas Gill voted for Emerson, who is not related to the Island County commissioner Kelly Emerson who recently resigned. Jerome and Councilman Jim Sundberg voted for Black.

The votes cast and evenly split, the chambers fell silent enough to hear the tick-tick-ticking of the analog clock. After asking for any new nominations or any changing votes and receiving neither, McCarthy cast the deciding vote for Black, a 45-year-old small business owner, mother and decade-long Langley resident.

Once the decision was made, the candidates left the meeting, though Black and Callison likely ended in the same place: their marital home on Second Street.

Jerome, who resigned after her husband took a job running a medical technology company in Winston-Salem, N.C. earlier this year, praised all three candidates and encouraged them to seek city council positions in the future.

“We think all three of you would be great,” she said.

During the eight-question interviews of each candidate, the issue of balancing the city’s desire for robust economic growth with its small-town look and feel was raised. In her response, Black described her position as “growth in a sustainable way” and the city has to take development projects case-by-case to ensure that its commercial core maintains the bluffs and water views.

Black said the most pressing need for the city was to stimulate business and find ways to encourage the creation of jobs, which would bring young families to the city and boost the schools “to make it thrive again.”

Her vision for Langley in 20 years is a younger demographic with expanded education and activities throughout South Whidbey and a “vibrant” downtown Langley.

Though she is a first-time public representative, Black said one of the best parts of her career is hearing several from several people to arrive at a decision, similar to the work of the council.

“What I love about it is listening to everybody’s ideas,” she said, adding that one of her weaknesses is patience.

She’ll have to wait a couple of weeks, however, before officially taking office. Black will be sworn in and serve as a city councilwoman for the first time at the next city council meeting, June 2.


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