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Some experienced politicos have made the short list of finalists to fill the Colorado Springs City Council seat Richard Skorman plans to vacate in January. 

The seven finalists selected from a pool of 25 applicants includes well-known politicians such as Sallie Clark, former El Paso County commissioner, and Brandy Williams, a former city councilwoman. All the finalists will be interviewed in an open meeting next week and then the council is expected to vote to appoint a replacement to Skorman's seat.

Skorman, a more progressive voice, was re-elected in April to represent southwest Colorado Springs. He is leaving his seat to focus on his downtown businesses. 

The number and quality of the applicants to fill Skorman's seat reflect well on District 3, Councilman Wayne Williams said. The last time the council appointed someone to fill an empty seat, the board interviewed four people. 

"There does tend to be a lot of civic interest from this part of Colorado Springs," he said. 

The council has decided to interview all the candidates who received support from at least two council members, according to the list of finalists. 

Williams was the most popular finalist, garnering support from six council members. She is an engineer for the city of Fountain and served on the council for two years in an at-large seat. 

Four council members backed Clark, Stephannie Fortune, Laura Gardner and Terry Martinez as finalists.

Clark served on the City Council from 2001 to 2003, and spent 12 years as an El Paso County commissioner. Most recently she served as former President Donald Trump's appointee as the rural development director for Colorado within the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Fortune would also bring extensive political experience from positions where she worked behind the scenes. Her resume includes work as the executive director for University Partnerships and Public Policy at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, the political adviser to the Colorado Spring Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee and chief of staff to Lt. Gov. Jane Norton, a Republican, among other roles. She also boasts extensive experience on the boards of nonprofits, such as the United Way, the Pikes Peak Workforce Investment Board and the Girl Scouts of Colorado, according to her UCCS biography. 

Martinez, a former principal of Will Rogers Elementary School, has made several forays into politics, running for City Council and a state House seat. He is currently serving on the city's Law Enforcement Transparency and Accountability Commission.

Gardner would bring experience in law as a local attorney. She also comes from a political family. Her father is state Sen. Bob Gardner, who represents Colorado Springs' District 12.  

The council also granted interviews to Toby Gannett, a local businessman with experience in affordable housing, and Arthur Glynn, a former Navy emergency preparedness liaison officer. Glynn ran against Skorman in April and said at the time he would make long-term planning for city growth and mitigating fire danger priorities. 

Contact the writer at mary.shinn@gazette.com or (719) 429-9264.

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