Ketchikan Borough Assembly
3-year terms - Two Seats Open
Published: September 24, 2010
Received: September 23, 2010
experience and qualifications:
My name is Catherine Brown and I was born and raised in Ketchikan
under my maiden name, Cathy Nell. I'm the third generation of
my family that has lived here, beginning with my Gra dmother,
Margaret McCombs (103 years old this past Summer) who homesteaded
with my Grandfather in Clover Pass starting in the early 1920's.
My husband, Britton, and I have chosen to also raise our five
children in the community of Ketchikan, carrying on a wonderful
I am primarily a stay-at-home mother but I currently volunteer
as a birth doula on the side. The majority of my work experience
has been in the medical field and I have also volunteered many
hours as an EMT for the Pond Reef Fire Department, did a brief
stint volunteering with the city department, and volunteered
in the Ketchikan General Hospital ER.
I do not have any experience in government itself, aside from
exercising my right to vote, and I do not believe that experience
necessarily equates with correctness or wisdom. I believe that
we need more than experience when it comes to government officials,
we need people who are honest and good, who are willing to learn
and put forth the hard work required to make good decisions ,
who can base their decisions on principles of good government,
and will act to protect the rights of all individuals in the
borough even if to do so would be unpopular. That is the difference
between a politician and a statesman and I consider myself the
That said, I do have over a decade of leadership experience (at
the age of 29) in various positions within my religion, both
on the local and regional level, as well as experience as an
online Administrator for the Preeclampsia Foundation. I've learned
a myriad of valuable lessons from each and every experience and
always seek to apply learning to every aspect of my life.
I have applied myself to many different areas of study and thus
consider myself a "jack of all trades; master of none."
I am an autodidact, always learning and studying new things of
interest in-depth. For approximately 5 years now both my husband
and I have been studying freedom, government, and po litics as
seen by those who created the most free country known in the
world to date. These men, that we call the American Founding
Fathers, were inspired, intelligent, good, and well-learned men
who were themselves students of history, of government, and of
human nature. This gave them the unique ability to see what was
done in the past, what worked and what didn't, and to be able
to create a system by which both the frailties of government
and of men could be checked and bound in such a way as to best
preserve the freedom of all people within our country.
We do not need to reinvent the wheel, starting over or thinking
of new ways to solve problems --the work has already been done
for us. Most every problem we have today can be solved by the
principles of good government taught by these founders of our
nation. As we study their writings, debates, and the founding
documents they created, we can identify key principles they considered
tru ths. And when understood, those principles can be applied
to al l levels of government. I believe good government is based
upon good principles and seek to act accordingly.
Statement regarding important issues facing the community
and what I'd like to achieve if elected:
I believe that there are two big issues facing our community
at this time and they both are very interconnected. The first
is economic and the second relates to the proper role of government.
What I seek to achieve is based upon my view of the proper role
of government but applies equally to the economic issues we face.
The economy is in a "recession" and communities, states,
and the nation as a whole are feeling the effects of that. Ketchikan
seems to be doing well compared to many, but we are by no means
isolated from it. We are at risk of losing some State and Federal
funding that we rely upon, we cary a large debt, and our tax
burden is already high. Economists may now be saying that the
recession has ended, but these were the very same economists
who said that the housing market wouldn't crash and that there
wouldn't be a recession to begin with. How much faith are we
going to place their judgement? They may be right --I hope they
are-- but I believe firmly that we need to plan for the worst
and hope for the best.
What do I take that to mean? I believe we need to cut the budget
wherever possible now. I do not believe that we should make sudden
and drastic changes immediately since that tends to result in
chaos and poor decisions, but we definately need to limit new
spending to actual needs and make the best of those dollars we
are spending. We then need to be methodical and deliberate as
we move forward...making well-planned and prioritized changes
slowly , ensuring we are always acting on principle and staying
within the b ounds of the government's appropriate role.
I'm getting asked continually what the Borough can do to encourage,
promote, support or advance various local industries or businesses.
I do not think it is the proper role of government to support
or fund business. It is the proper role of government
to get out of its way. The appropriate government incentives
are to deregulate and lower taxes. What better incentive is there
than to allow the industrious to keep the fruits of their labors?
This was a right safeguarded by our constitution's original intent
as well as the constitution of the State of Alaska in very word.
If the people of Ketchikan can see and keep the rewards of their
labors, they will work harder, produce more and/or a higher quality,
then business owners will hire more staff, and all will spend
more in turn. That money will circulate through every level of
Ketchikan's econ omy. It is a stimulus from the bottom up
and that is the kind of stimulus that will help our economy
to not only survive but to thrive.
The reason I believe that the proper role of government is a
second, but equal (if not greater) issue is that we are on the
road to ever-increasing big government with the attendant increase
in taxation and in loss of personal freedoms. This country was
founded on the principles of small government for and
by the people whose main purpose is the protection of
rights. Big government and it's control upon the people was very
much what the founding fathers were fighting against. In fact,
many of our well-known statesmen nearly voted down the constitution
because they were worried the government it created was too big
even at that time. What would they say now that our government
is trying to support us and even protect us from ourselves? The
more we stray fro m the correct principles of government the
founders taught, the more we lose control of our rights and that
is a dangerous, slippery slope.
One of the questions at the Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce candidate
forum was "What is the Borough's greatest asset?" I
had written down the same answer given by many others there,
that it was "the people." It is their drive, their
labors, their ingenuity that is the driving force of Ketchikan
and what makes Ketchikan unique. In retrospect, I'm glad that
question wasn't asked because while there is truth in that statement,
the more I have thought about it, I've realized that the premise
of the question is wrong when answered in that way. The people
aren't an asset that belongs to the government! The government
is (or should be) an asset of the people, protecting their rights
so that they are able to focus on other means of productivity
and daily life as we know it. If we see ourselves as an asset
to the government, it indicates that the balance of power has
changed and should awaken us to a sense of how far it has strayed
from its true purpose and what we risk in continuing down that
I realize that we see this as a problem mostly on a state and
federal level, but it is creeping into all levels of government
and thinking and exhists within our community. As we seek to
protect ourselves from the economic crisis around us and move
forward, where is that going to take our government? I can see
a real danger in front of us of following suit with higher levels
of government if we aren't acting based upon principle. I believe
we are in a crossroads. Do we follow the "new" changes
being made at federal levels and do we subscribe to the beliefs
implied therein? Or are we going to follow the principles of
government that safeguarded our freedoms from the beginning and
do we share the beliefs of our Founding Fathers? Now is a time
to know not only how specific laws will affect us and future
generations, but als o what the principles and meanings behind
them are and if we agree with them. We must be educated and act
wisely for our freedoms and our future hang in the balance.
Please join with me to protect what we have and regain what we've
lost. Freedom is our heritage and if we are to keep it, we must
understand the principles upon which it was achieved. It isn't
enough simply to know them, we must also act upon them.
Catherine's list of principle
of good government:
(This list is not exhaustive. I am sure there are many more out
there I've yet to learn.)
Rights are unalienable and given by our creator, not by the government.
The people can delegate to government to protect their rights.
The main purpose of Government is to protect the right to free
exercise of conscience or liberty, protect the right and control
of property, and protect life.
Government should have limited powers.
Government cannot be vested with authority that you, as an individual,
do not have.
The people are superior to the government they create.
Individual rights do not overlap.
The force of Goverment should only be brought against someone
to protect rights from imminent danger or to claim restitution
for rights infringed..
Punishments must be equal to the crime.
The governmental powers were separated into three separate entities
as a means to safeguard our rights. The legislative, executive
and judicial are all limited in power, each with the ability
to check and balance the force of the others.
Any governmental function going beyond those enumerated in the
constitution is a form of tyranny and usurpation of power.
The constitution is based on the principle of representation
as a restraining force on "pure" democracy.
We are designed as a democratic-republic where the majority vote
The rights of the people may not be subject to majority vote.
Our Government was design to work only for a moral and religious
Government owes us nothing but the protection of rights for which
it was created.
We cannot expect a higher level or morality from our representatives
than we ourselves live.
We are equal in our rights and equal before the law.
Without the protection of property rights, all other rights are
No law should be passed unless designed to protect the freedom,
liberty and wellbeing of the people.
The level of government with the most power should be the closest
to the people.
If you would not feel morally correct enforcing a law yourself,
the force of government should not be used to do it for you.
Candidate for Ketchikan Borough Assembly
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