Janalee L. Gage
Candidate for Ketchikan City Council
I appreciate the opportunity to tell you of my desire to serve you as a member of the Ketchikan City Council. I am the Great-Great Granddaughter of Forest and Harriet Hunt, the Great Granddaughter of Elaine and Jack Talbot, Granddaughter of Jim and Jane Talbot Church, and Thelma and John Minnich Sr. and Daughter of Janet E. Minnich and John L. Minnich. My husband and I have three children our youngest is in her senior year in Kayhi.
Employment: Manager of the Ketchikan Alcohol Safety Action and Juvenile Alcohol Safety action Program, with Gateway Center for Human Resources.
Community Involvement: PRR (Promoting Respectful Relationships), D.A.R.T (Disability Abuse Response Team) SATF (Substance Abuse Task Force) First City Players, Main Street Gallery.
Education: B.S. in Multimedia Design and photography (Otis Parsons school of design and AI of Pittsburg)
Hometown: Ketchikan Alaska
What my experience brings to the council:
I am currently the manager of ASAP/JASAP, I work with individuals who find themselves in the judicial system due to choices made while under the influence of alcohol and drugs. My job has given me a clear understanding of alcohol and drug dependency, the hurdles we have as a community and the education needs of our community so our community, including our youth can make an informed choice when presented with them. Although this is the first time I have run for a public office, I have a worked in nonprofit programs for the past 10 years and understand the importance of budget, and working with less. I am willing to learn, thrive on challenge, and will work for the community in the best interest of all members.
I grew up with a strong understanding of Civic duty, and community work for the betterment of Ketchikan for everyone, like my family, I believe that there is more to a community than going to work and bringing home enough money to survive. Our Elders have given us a legacy and a task to care for and nurture the things they built and the responsibility to carry them in to the future for our children and grandchildren. The fruits of their labor can be seen in the library, museum, home healthcare, pioneer home, and arts. For this Ketchikan realizes the importance of caring for our elders so they can retire here and remain with their families and friends comfortably.
I did not know the value of these things as a young person, and in some cases I thought these things were everywhere, and so like most young people I couldn’t wait to go to the big city and I applied to college in Los Angeles. I learned a lot in those years about what I had and what the world didn’t have. I realized I grew up with something much richer than any amount of money.
Ketchikan is a community built strongly on community involvement, volunteers, elders who work tirelessly to keep our history and culture alive, and the amazing pot of talented individuals who get up every day to create and improve Ketchikan’s way of life.
I am proud of our diverse culture, programs, and the individual talent that surrounds us and Ketchikan cannot afford to lose these things.
I have seen what communities without a strong belief in community involvement, volunteer service, nonprofits, and arts programs look like and it is not an option. Our Children benefit from seeing us working hard to build and improve our communities through volunteer work, they learn from us as I learned from my family.
As the state of Alaska approaches a dawn of unknowing fiscal issues we need to stand together as a community, a family, and support each other in a solution for Ketchikan. One that will improve upon what we have today. I do not want to see us lose the things that my family and many of our families have worked for generations to build.
We are a community that participates in creating a healthy environment, we understand the importance of teaching our youth everything from maritime skills, aviation, to coaching youth sports, arts, healthy eating, government, and many of us sit tirelessly on a municipal advisory committee.
Ketchikan’s business district has been seeing a rejuvenation in locally owned year round open shops, these business owners generously donate for multitudes of fund raisers; construction owners, and labors donate their skills and time, Religious organizations, social services, planners and environmental groups all have a stake in the issues before us. We all have one objective, a healthy and positive community where we can thrive.
We as community leaders need to listen establish trust and build real relationships that matter.
We need to show we understand all those who live here, their hopes, dreams and what they want to see in their community.
I support the nonprofits and local businesses because they are what make Ketchikan worth living in. I have lived in places where I have had to drive 200 miles, fly, or order things online because there were no locally owned shops that sold those goods except a Walmart or a Fred Meyer.
The need to evaluate the cost of utilities for everyone is important, however; I don’t believe that Ketchikan residence should be subsidizing large company water usage.
It concerns me that residences living in the extended Ketchikan city limits are paying for services, they do not receive. We should not be charging for services that are not being supplied.
I do believe that a cigarette tax is important and although $3.00 seems high to me, there are a lot of costs and programs we can look to direct these funds to. Programs the tax payers are already paying for in medical costs and health issues among those who cannot afford them.
I know that there is a lot of talk about raising utilities and taxes; I am not a fan of this, only because I know how hard it is to support ourselves here, the cost of fuel alone makes it hard to heat our homes.
I think there are other options; I would like more to see where we could find those options. One of my proposals would be to raise the head tax on tourists coming in to town from $2.50 to $3.00, to pay for the increase cost of harbor, sewer and road ways due to the increased stress the added visitors put on our communities basic services.
I am not a fan nor do I agree with the use of marijuana, I know the devastation it has on a personal level. However; I understand that it is the law, but I will be looking at the regulations closely so that we can maximize the affect it has on our community, especially our children and teenagers. I am strongly against edibles, and retail shops, and I worry about the ramifications of promoting pot to visitors coming in during the tourist season. We do not have to rush in, we already know that individuals who choose to smoke already do so and are allowed to grow up to 6 plants in the privacy of their own home. I think we need to see how things work in other communities before we jump in with both feet. So when we do chose to move forward we do it as a responsible community who looks out for all its family members.
At this time I believe there is a lack of and needs to be serious education in regards to the recent legalization of Marijuana and how the law applies to jobs, and driving under the influence. We are already seeing the effects on both these issues.
As a community we need to be clear through education regarding zero tolerance when it comes to supplying to youth.
I have heard rumor of individuals that believe that the senior tax wavier on property tax and sales tax should be removed or changed; I am dead set against this. It is already hard enough for our elders to remain in their homes, and in Ketchikan upon retirement and this tax wavier is extremely important to that. We need to remember that our elders are the very reason we have what we have in our community, they took on the duties from their parents to keep many of our programs running. Without them Ketchikan would not be the place that it is today, and we need to respect that and continue the work to keep Ketchikan one of the greatest places to live and retire. None of our elders should ever have to move, be separated from family, or be placed outside the state due to health, disability, or the inability to pay to live here. This was an important goal of my Great-Great Grandmother and Grandfather in the 1920’s and should be the top priority of ours today. With this we need to give our youth a reason and the ability to make a fulfilling healthy living here so that we can continue to thrive generation to generation.
Yes it is true that we are all growing older by the day, this is where we need to begin to set a goal for the future to educate the importance of buying locally, and building a healthy community, industry and businesses, that give our children an incentive to want to live and raise their families here, and keep our money in the community.
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