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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Running for Ketchikan City Council

By Riley Gass


August 26, 2020
Wednesday AM

Hello friends, family, and fellow citizens of Ketchikan. My name is Riley Gass, and I am humbly asking for your support in this year’s Ketchikan City Council race. I am a life-long resident of Ketchikan and have family ties to Ketchikan on both sides of my family. I’m a proud Christian, proud American, proud Alaskan, and I am a proud Ketchikanite. I believe I’m the right man for the job because I believe in listening, understanding, and compromising, but I also believe our elected officials need to be strong and stand up clearly for what they believe in. There is nothing worse than a politician who beats around the bush and tries to tell everyone what they want to hear without being clear on their stance. With me, you will know what you’re getting. I am a staunch supporter of our police department. I believe we need to run our city budget the same way average citizens run their personal budget, you don’t spend more than you make, and yearly increases on taxes in order to go on major government spending sprees is unacceptable, the citizens should not be responsible for reckless spending within our city government. Year after year we see increases on virtually everything within the city from property tax to utility rates and other fees and charges, this is extremely difficult on citizens and local small business owners. These small businesses are the heart of Ketchikan, and year after year they go above and beyond to fund and support our youth in activities such as Little League baseball, youth soccer, football, basketball, volleyball, track, cross country, swimming, ballet, debate, and much more. That is why it would be my priority to make Ketchikan the most business friendly city possible for our local businesses.

Serving on the city council would be a huge honor for me. I feel that I am the right pick to represent the average, hardworking, tax paying, year-round Ketchikan residents. If I am fortunate enough to win, that is who I will feel the duty to represent. I have heard a lot of talk over the years suggesting that the council takes for granted the average tax payer in Ketchikan, that we are considered a second class below the seasonal tour companies and out of town tour workers based on decisions to not increase cruise ship moorage rates one penny from the year 1990 through the 2019 tour season while local fishermen and small boat owners have seen their moorage rates increase year after year. Or on the sweet deal cruise ships get on water while residents and local business’s see needed increases year after year due to differed maintenance on city pipes. We need the tour industry, but we need to charge competitive, reasonable rates to them in the same way we do our small businesses and residents. This is your chance to elect someone to fight for you. You are the people who make this town special year after year. As I stated before, I will make sure to be extremely clear of my opinion on issues, to give you the voters a clear picture of what you’re getting by voting for me. Given that this is my first time running for office, I feel that I can be the person to bring needed change to the Council. Many of the big decisions made on the Council often seem to be rushed through with little discussion or difference of opinion on issue, I would like to change that. We owe it to our citizens to put a great deal of thought and discussion into issues that impact our community.

The most important issue our city faces in the near future is our Port. It is crucial that we keep the Ketchikan port owned and operated by Ketchikan, not one of the outside companies from Seattle or Turkey or anywhere else that wants to buy ownership of it for the next thirty years. It is clear there is only one reason those outside companies are interested, because they can make a fortune on it. Our city owes it to our citizens to keep that fortune local. We must find ways to utilize the funds from the 1.2 million cruise ship passengers in 2019 and the future cruise passengers to maintain our port that they use and allow our citizens the opportunity to participate in the industry. If we sell out, the outside companies might not be so friendly to local tour operators and store owners.

My final pitch for why I’m the man for this job is two-fold. One, I love this community and I’m fully invested in it. I have never lived anywhere else and never plan to, because I love Ketchikan. I enjoy being involved with the community in various ways such as refereeing youth basketball, attending church, and most importantly just being an approachable person around town. If you have a question or concern, bring it to me and I will listen. The second reason is that I have found unconventional ways to have success in my life on a limited budget, and I would like to bring this way of thinking to the council. Thinking outside the box and coming up with ways to stretch the dollars when they are limited is critical during these trying times. The answer isn’t always, “tax more and spend more’’. Let’s get creative and make Ketchikan a better place for our citizens!


Riley Gass
Ketchikan, Alaska




Editor's Note:

The text of this letter was NOT edited by the SitNews Editor.

Received August 18, 2020 - Published August 26, 2020

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