The Casper City Council has its newest member.
Jai-Ayla Quest was selected by the council on Tuesday to represent Ward 1 in the seat left open in August when former council member Khrystyn Lutz moved to Lander.
Quest is a mother of twins and a program specialist for The Stanley Center for Peace and Security’s Mass Violence and Atrocities Program.
In her 10 minutes in front of the council on Tuesday, she highlighted the importance of solving local problems before they become global ones.
“(Problems) start on our streets, in our classrooms, in our coffee shops,” Quest said, appearing via video call during Tuesday’s interviews. “They start when some aren’t seen as equal, when communities become divided along ideological lines, and when the majority stops looking out for the minority.”
The Casper native said she’s noticed increasing division in Casper, and wants to work to provide more employment opportunities that could help keep young people in the area.
Quest also stressed her desire to keep Casper a family-oriented community, saying she understands what parents look for when deciding where to send their children to school and surveying growth opportunities for the next generation.
She praised the council’s support for a statewide missing persons database, the implementation of a non-discrimination ordinance and public-private collaboration for a local Safe Space program.
Quest studied international relations at the University of Southern California and has a master’s degree in international security.
“I think we need more moms in leadership positions,” Quest said. “I will fill this position as a woman who is open to having difficult conversations, who will ask the right questions, and who sees the humanity of another, regardless of their perspective.”
Council members interviewed eight other candidates for the role during a Tuesday evening work session. Each applicant for the position answered questions about their priorities, issues facing the council and their plans to run for re-election when Lutz’s term expires in 2023.
Quest said she was willing to run for re-election when the time comes.
The council’s newest addition is set to be formally sworn into the position with a full council confirming vote on Tuesday.
Follow city and crime reporter Ellen Gerst on Twitter at @ellengerst.