SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Janine Gibbons

Candidate for Ketchikan Borough Assembly
3-year term - Three Seats Open


Published: September 29, 2008
Received: September 27, 2008

Janine Gibbons

Dear Editor and Citizens of Ketchikan,

I share a long history with Ketchikan, in fact, my family has been located in this area for many generations. My great grandmother, Margaret Hamilton, was born in Howkan, near Hydaburg, before calling Ketchikan home. My grandfathers, Ed Todd (aka. Beaver) and Jack Tyson, as well as my grandmother, Helen Todd, were all influential in the developing the character that Ketchikan exudes today. My parents, Jackie Tyson and Terry Gibbons, worked in the logging and road construction industry. I was born in Ketchikan and raised in Petersburg, returned to the First City as an adult and fell in love with it's people and the islands majestic beauty. I brought my new husband, Christopher Ruecker, to Ketchikan in early 2007 and we set up shop on Stedman Street opening a small retail boutique called, "Ketchikan Dry Goods". A few months later, our son, Reid, would be born and become a fixture along with Chris and myself at the shop. Today I continue to build and nurture my business as well as my family. I believe it's important that we come together and make the right decisions that will lead Ketchikan to an even greater future. I ask for your support and your vote on October 7th.

On Schools:

The greatest asset of this community are its young people and their education is a fundamental responsibility of Borough government. We need to remember that funding education in Ketchikan is an investment, not an
expense, and plan to offer this community's young people an education that is second to none, and extracurricular activities that will enhance their development years and future lives.

On the Arts:

The borough needs to continue to support the local arts community. Our burgeoning arts scene has helped to put Ketchikan on the map and keeps a lot of people here.

On Ward Cove:

This is an issue that deserves some serious thought and planning. What we have right now is a strategic piece of land that is considered one of the regions best deep-water ports. While Ward Cove has seemingly been a thorn in the borough's side, I don't think that is a good reason to jump into anything prematurely or sell it off for a quick buck. I think that the number one priority would be to have a comprehensive development plan for
the area. I understand that there has been discussion recently to subdivide the property and put aside a portion of the land for local industry, and I support it, but before we start carving up the land we should have an idea
of what our future goals for the property are. Remember that the real estate is going to be here and we need to see it with a long-term vision.

On Property Taxes:

I would like to see a more transparent appraisal process and a year over year cap on the amount an appraised value can increase for an existing property.

On Sales Tax:

Instead of subsidizing our visitors large purchases, lets use the yearly influx of tourists to find a way to lessen the tax burden on our year round residents. Other communities in southeast have done it, lets see if we can't make something work.

On Economic Development:

Entrepreneurial capacity and behavior are prime drivers of economic growth and job creation. We, as a borough, need to make Ketchikan an attractive place to do business and a place where people and businesses will love to live. While the current slate of tax incentives is a great idea, I would take a step further and hope to offer additional incentives to local start-ups that provide year round employment for people who live here.

On CPV Taxes:

We have a real opportunity here to do great things. While the borough is currently taking applications for the funds on an ad hoc basis, I would like to see the city and the borough come together and devise a long term vision of what the dollars could accomplish and funding projects or activities that help create that vision.

On South Point Higgins Beach:

We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to keep these lands public and we should jump on it. People need place to recreate and to lose South Point Higgins would be a devastating loss.

On Tongass Land Management:

I am for the sustainable harvest of our areas abundant forests. I would like to see a bigger emphasis in adding value to our trees after they've been felled. We can rebuild our timber industry by adding value.

On Downtown:

We need a vibrant city center. It disturbs me greatly that so many shops have moved out of downtown. Successful cities share one thing in common: they have robust central business districts. Building the new library downtown and the possibility of the Performing Arts Center in the old Fireside building is a step in the right direction. I believe that the rejuvenation of cities is invariably a key part of any successful town strategy.

For more information go to or join us for a meet and greet at the New York Café on Stedman street on October 1st from 5 to 7 pm.

Janine Gibbons


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Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska