Open Letter: Announcement
By Austin Otos
July 25, 2018
Throughout my years as a borough resident, I have seen our island based-community exponentially grow into a flourishing travel destination for tourists and a stable home base for long-term residents. The unique environment our town provides—such as a sense of community - creates local residents who are committed and engaged in the betterment of our neighborhoods, schools, and fellow citizens. This tight-knit social fabric has had a significant impact on my life upbringing by investing my personal time in community service. Since pursing higher education and re-planting my roots back in Ketchikan, I’ve recognized areas our community could focus and build upon, thus creating a stable community-based environment. Economic and social cohesion are the building blocks of a society in which our local government should invest in, attracting entrepreneurship and providing a safe environment for local residents to prosper. Economic development is the backbone of any community; it fosters long-term employment and a healthy local business environment. I believe it’s the duty of our local Borough to facilitate private-public partnerships that establish new jobs for residents and attract locally-based business opportunities. By investing in tourism, seafood, forestry products, healthcare, shipyard expansion, and nonprofit organizations, we can spur long-term economic growth for local residents.
Our local borough is charged with leveeing property taxes to support local schools. This creates a healthy educational environment for parents, teachers, and students alike. Public education is paramount to our students, it equips them with skills for higher education, civic knowledge, and employment abilities. By investing in educational programs such as trade skills, higher learning classes, and native languages, it will allow our students to have marketable employment proficiencies. Furthermore, with economic and educational development comes the need for quality of life improvements to the community. We should acknowledge that Ketchikan has a housing deficit due to limited land usage. This creates an affordability issue for elderly placement, seasonal workers, and residents looking to purchase homes. Assessing housing prices and population density will help shed light on what our local government can do to meet the needs of affordable housing.
The decisions that are made on the local level directly affect citizens that reside within that specific community - more so than other levels of government. By participating in local elections, campaigns, and politics, citizens have a greater say in the decisions that surround them. I have always been fascinated by the idea of representative government and selfless civic service to one’s community. Electing a good representative who focuses on future issues and takes assessment of their constituents concerns and ideas is what makes a transparent and responsive government to the people.
For these reasons, I humbly seek to run for Ketchikan Borough Assembly in order to participate in governmental decisions and be a voice for Ketchikan Gateway Borough residents. If elected, the issues outlined here will be the focal point of my campaign and the basis for which I affect change in our community.
About: Announcement - Ketchikan Borough Assembly candidate
Received July 22, 2018 - Published July 25, 2018
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