ENCINITAS — The Encinitas City Council has appointed Leucadia resident Allison Blackwell to fill the body’s vacant District 1 seat at the Jan. 18 meeting.
The council voted 3-1 to appoint Blackwell to fill the vacant seat left by Mayor Tony Kranz, who was elected mayor in November. Kranz was previously reelected to the District 1 seat in 2020, meaning Blackwell will serve the remaining two years of his term until the 2024 election.
Blackwell was one of seven people who applied for the council vacancy. The other candidates included Michael Glenn O’Grady, Tonya Bell, Maureen Farley, Michael Blobe, Scott Campbell and Alexander Riley.
Newly-elected Councilmember Bruce Ehlers, a former seven-year planning commissioner, wanted to appoint O’Grady instead. Ehlers served on the Planning Commission with O’Grady, a commissioner for 10 years.
“I think Glenn O’Grady brings a lot to the table,” Ehlers said.
A resident of Leucadia since 2013, Blackwell pointed to her experience as a lawyer, human resources executive, diversity and inclusion leader and volunteerism as reasons why she was right for the role.
“I’m very committed to serving the community,” Blackwell said.
Blackwell is currently the chief human resources officer for Cue Health, a San Diego-based healthcare technology company.
She previously served as vice president and diversity and inclusion officer for the Danaher Corporation, a company known for designing and manufacturing medical, industrial and commercial products.
Blackwell has a bachelor’s degree in economics from Carleton College in Minnesota and graduated from Boston College Law School. She was admitted to the New York and Minnesota state bar associations.
In terms of local service, Blackwell serves on the Encinitas Equity Committee and the Encinitas Homeless Action Plan Group. She has also been a gardener with the Encinitas Community Garden and has volunteered for various community events throughout the last decade.
Blackwell’s top concerns that she wants to address as an appointed council member include installing at-grade pedestrian rail crossings in Leucadia, homelessness, affordable housing and ensuring economic diversity among residents.
Several members of the public, including neighbors of Blackwell and other Leucadia residents, spoke in support of her appointment.
“She is selfless; she goes above and beyond and always puts other people’s needs above her own,” said Kim Masterson.
Councilmember Kellie Shay Hinze, who motioned to appoint Blackwell, also praised her as a community volunteer.
“You’ve hit the ground running with your community since you moved here years ago,” Hinze told Blackwell. “Whenever there was another task… Allison would raise her hand over and over again.”