SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Ketchikan Borough Election
OCTOBER 01, 2019

Michelle O'Brien

Candidate for Ketchikan Borough Mayor
3 Year Term - 1 Seat To fill


Filed for Office: August 23, 2019
Statement Received September 03, 2019
Published September 03, 2019 PM
Last Updated: September 03, 2019

I'd like to be Ketchikan’s next Borough Mayor.

jpg Michelle O'Brien Candidate for Ketchikan Borough Mayor 2019

Why? I’d like to tell you a story.

A little over ten years ago, our family arrived in Ketchikan from Tallahassee, Florida-- with my two young daughters-- for me to start a new job here. We immediately dove head-first into Ketchikan: First City Players, Kanayama Exchange, First City Homeless Services, and Rotary, Kayhi sports, to name a few. And over the years, our entire family has constantly been involved in numerous volunteer and charitable activities around our community. That’s what we do as a family. We get involved.

We are a former military family, so our move to Ketchikan didn’t seem monumental at the time. After all, we have lived around the world. As we quickly realized, moving to Ketchikan has been the best thing that has ever happened in our lives. Ketchikan is our home, and we don’t plan to change that. We chose Ketchikan, Alaska, and we love it.

If you’ll indulge me a bit further….

Back, in August of 2009, after only four months of living here, I signed up as a write-in candidate for our School Board… quite frankly, thinking no one would ever vote for me. But I was (and still am) passionate about our students. I’m thankful to you for putting your faith in me and writing in my name in to elect me to our School Board.

For seven years I served on our School Board, and two of those years, as President. I became deeply entrenched in our Borough’s education budget process which is the largest line item on our Borough budget. I consistently fought for the future of our young people. I have always been a huge cheerleader for our future as an entire community, all the while keeping in mind our overall economic constraints. I never asked for educational “funding to the cap.” It was unrealistic then, and it still is.

I have a simple question: What do you envision for Ketchikan’s future?

You should be asking that of ALL of our candidates for local political office this year. From our Board of Education, to the City Council, and our Borough Assembly, all of us should be asking the question, “How best do we map the future of our community?” There’s a lot to consider, and it’s going to require a team effort moving forward. Not one “party or another”, not conservative or liberal, not City or Borough, but all of us. Together.

There is no single issue that should dominate our discussions.

So, I decided to enter the conversation for Borough Mayor because our community needs another choice. Why should I be your choice for Borough Mayor?

I have a decades-long history of creating highly successful, award-winning teams both in the public and private sectors

I have been, and continue to be, deeply involved in our community. Because of my involvement in over 15 local organizations, I believe I have an in depth understanding of our non-profits, our arts, and our economic development groups.

I have a proven track record of creating consensus through my ability to listen to all who would like to be part of the conversation. This is evidenced through my service on our local School Board, my service as a Member and Chair of the Alaska Public Broadcasting Commission, and my service as Rotary District Governor for Alaska, to name a few

And, based on my seven years of local political service, I have a thorough understanding of our local educational and borough budget process.

If I am elected... I intend to spark a vibrant community conversation that speaks towards our entire goals moving forward. There were many times that I attended School Board meetings thinking, and having researched a topic… that I had an idea for which way to vote...Then, someone from the public, or someone on the Board came forward to offer a different perspective. I’ve lost count how many times I reflected and then adjusted my thinking to include new information. And that’s why we need a conversation. For all of us.

Our community should choose a listener as our Mayor.

THIS year is a time to come together more than ever before, given what’s happening at the state level, our collective goal should be ensuring that Ketchikan remains a fantastic place that it is, and always has been.

Lastly, the role as Mayor of our Borough is an important one. Your Mayor is our spokesperson, our biggest lobbyist, and the one who needs to have the mindset to be able to adequately build a diverse team to get things done. One who builds consensus. One who can listen and reflect on all aspects of an issue and lead our community forward to benefit and protect individuals, businesses and industry.

Just like ten years ago, I would be humbled to have your support on October 1st.

Michelle O’Brien


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This is the 17th year, Sitnews has provided FREE web exposure to all local Ketchikan candidates to provide information for consideration by the Ketchikan voters.

  1. Local candidates are invited by SitNews to provide for the voters' consideration basic background information, experience and qualifications for the public office for which they seek.
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  5. Absentee in-person voting begins on Sept. 16, 2019. SitNews deadline to recieve statements will also be Sept. 15, 2019 - one day before absentee voting begins.

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