Running for Ketchikan City Council
By Riley Gass
August 26, 2020
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!
Received August 18, 2020 - Published August 26, 2020
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