WILMINGTON — The city council got a new look Tuesday when aldermen approved Mayor Tony McGann’s appointment of a recent college graduate to fill a vacant 3rd Ward seat. Ragan Freitag, 21, will be the fourth woman to serve on the Wilmington City Council, and she may very well be the youngest person ever to serve.
McGann said he appointed Freitag because she’s “bright, energetic and knowledgeable.” The mayor said he talked to about 12 people who were interested in serving on the council.
“I hope to be a role model for other people my age and get them more interested in government,” Freitag said.
McGann, who has had his differences with the city council, seemed to get a positive response when he announced his intention Oct. 1 to appoint Freitag to fill the council’s 3rd Ward vacancy and asked for a vote to be taken at the Oct. 15 meeting.
Freitag said she applied for the aldermanic post because she aspires to a political career.
“I’ve always had a love for politics,” she said.
And if being the only woman on the city council and its youngest member is likely to be a challenge, that’s all right with her.
Freitag is one of the few women to graduate from The Citadel, a southern military college known for its tough treatment of new students and its rigorous curriculum.
She chose The Citadel because “it was a challenge. I thought regular college was too easy,” she said. “I’ve always been kind of an overachiever.”
Freitag, who intends to enter law school next year, is preparing for the Law School Admissions Test and working part-time for a local law firm and for U.S. Rep. Jerry Weller, R-Morris.
Freitag will fill the 3rd Ward seat vacated by Robert Kernc, who announced his resignation in August and stepped down effective Oct. 1. She will hold the post until the April election.
Kernc, who had served on the council for almost four years, declined to specify his reasons for resigning, mentioning only that he didn’t like “some of the directions we’re going” and a concern that “I’m going to lose friends (if I stay) in this job.”
Kernc added that “he has no hard feelings against anybody on this board.”