Sitnews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska - Opinions


Susan Pickrell
Candidate For Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly
3 year term ( 2 seats open)

Responses to Readers' Questions


Published: Tuesday
September 16, 2003


Susan Pickrell
Borough Assembly

"Commitment to our Community, Experienced Leadership, With a Vision for Economic Stability"

Vote Oct. 7

Why Do I Want To Serve on the Borough Assembly?

I remember what it was like to live in Ketchikan when there was a vital, growing economy and we didn't have this struggle over funding and budget gaps. There was a study done four years ago on the "quality of life" issues for 17 Alaskan communities. I think the following quotation from that study applies to Ketchikan today:

"Communities should focus on those community characteristics that need to change and identify those individuals in the community that can bring about the change. Community change is inextricably tied to community leadership. Communities that continue to look externally for problem resolution will never develop the capacity to solve problems in the long run. The biggest obstacle for these communities will be the recruitment and training of true believers in the community that have the ability to craft and mold community cohesion while simultaneously leading the community through a series of (usually painful) economic transitions." - Executive Summary, Community Quality of Life Study, Alaska Pacific University, Associate Professor Greg Brown, June 25, 1999,

I believe in our community, and have proven this with more than 20 years of public service. I want to ensure a healthy economy in Ketchikan so that my children can make a living here, and raise their children in a community where people care about each other and have hope for the future. Ketchikan's greatest resource is the people who live here. So often, Ketchikan has set the standard across the state, for solving problems with our "can-do" attitude. My experience at working with a variety of people in many capacities, and my service on many boards and commissions will be a benefit through this process.



  • Life long Ketchikan Resident
  • Employed as Human Resource Manager for Petro Alaska, Inc.
  • Currently serving as Vice President of Ketchikan Indian Community Tribal Council (term expires January 2004) and Ketchikan Regional Youth Facility Advisory Board
  • Served in elected position on the Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District School Board
  • Served in many volunteer and civic positions including:
    • Ketchikan Little League and Ketchikan High School Soccer Club
    • Chamber of Commerce Education Committee
    • Women in Safe Homes and Residential Youth Care Advisory Boards
    • Appointed to serve on State Alaska Police Standards Council and Juvenile Justice Commission



Economic Development:

We need a comprehensive plan that addresses areas of potential area-wide development and specifically the Ward Cove development. This would include private businesses, and local, state, and federal entities that can help us fund or partner with us on projects that will generate future jobs in the area.

I support continued expansion of the Ketchikan Shipyard and other maritime businesses.

Gravina Access Bridge - in addition to the jobs that can be provided by building this bridge, this provides our community with future opportunities to develop tourism and other business opportunities as well as "quality of life" areas such as homeowner and recreational site development.

I support the annexation of outlying areas to bring in more timber receipt dollars that can be targeted for funding our local school district. I understand that Hyder and Myers Chuck were included because of a requirement of the State of Alaska, but I believe we can work to change this requirement and still make this a viable source of revenue for education.

Infrastructure and area wide powers:

The borough should advocate for, and take a practical approach regarding finding resources to fund improvements for water and sewer and water infrastructure.

I am not convinced that all the questions regarding consolidation have been answered. Questions that need to be addressed are: 1) Will consolidation eliminate redundancy of services and save money in the process, (the study that looked at combining the school district and borough departments finance and maintenance departments didn't indicate it would), and 2) Will consolidation meet the needs of our community equitably?


There should be a comprehensive approach to funding education. I support full funding to the cap as long as there are funds available at both the state and local levels. Education should be addressed as a community issue and our approach to the funding issue should require that stakeholders and funding entities work together to find solutions instead of an adversarial approach.


It is not sound policy to depend on increasing taxes to meet budget gaps because an increase only serves to discourage local property and business owners from purchasing homes and expanding businesses. Fiscal responsibility should be the first consideration before contemplating any increase of taxes.



6369 South Tongass Highway, Ketchikan, AK 99901

Home: Ph#225-2988





Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska