DULUTH – The City Council voted unanimously Monday to select Terese Tomanek, a chaplain at Essentia Health and former chiropractor, to fill a seat left vacant after former Council Member Barb Russ resigned in April due to health issues.

Tomanek, 67, was chosen from a pool of 19 candidates after two rounds of interviews with the eight sitting council members. She described herself as a former business owner with “a passion to serve.”

Tomanek was born in St. Paul and attended the University of Minnesota Duluth, where she “fell in love with the city” in which she’s now lived for 38 years. After more schooling in the Twin Cities, she returned to Duluth to open her chiropractic practice, which she owned for 16 years before it was acquired by a larger company that employed her for another decade.

She has also served on a variety of boards and volunteer groups, including the Lake Superior College Foundation Board, the Duluth Sister Cities International Board, the Duluth Human Rights Commission, the Duluth Public Library Board and the task force that developed the city’s earned sick and safe time policy in 2018.

“I think I can bring those backgrounds together and help the city to move forward — not just to maintain during this time of pandemic, but to really move forward,” Tomanek said.

Tomanek said her three priorities as a council member would be opportunity (defined in a broad sense, she says — opportunities for businesses, labor, people of color, youth), equity and affordable housing.

Right now, Tomanek thinks the greatest challenge facing the city is its budget, which officials have said could fall up to $38 million short this year due to the coronavirus.

“We’re going to have to have difficult discussions and decisions on how we can take care of our residents with significantly less revenue,” she said.

Tomanek lives with her husband, Steve Davis, and raised two now-adult children in Duluth. She will serve the remainder of Russ’ term and can choose to run for election in 2021.

“I think Duluth is an incredible place to live,” she said. “And I wanted to give back in some way.”