Ketchikan Borough Election
I listed in a previous letter the many “wins” I have helped bring to our community, but I would ask that you consider that in the last three years we (teamwork):
• Balanced the Borough Budget from a nearly million dollar shortfall.
• We increased efficiency which allowed us to reduce costs while maintaining borough services.
• We increased funding for our schools and non profits.
• We found new ways to generate revenue without taking from our citizens.
• We advanced major capital improvement projects, including the upcoming expansion of the Airport and Ferry system.
• We advanced Borough Issues all the way to the Whitehouse with a plan I developed, that helped obtain a change that will save our citizens over $1.1 million per year.
• A proposal I developed and presented in DC will bring in additional Federal funding for our fire services.
• We secured Federal support for our schools and PILT for our Federal Lands in the Borough.
• We obtained changes in Federal legislation in support of our Shipyard.
• We completed a housing needs assessment and used that information to work with developers to bring affordable housing development.
• We fought hard to demand tax fairness from the State and our share of state funding.
• We made major progress on Borough issues and are close to resolving many, which will bring additional federal funding and opportunities to Ketchikan.
And much more… and we accomplished all of that… during a State economic recession… with no tax rate increases. By any measure of success, we hit a home run and few communities in this state or nation came even close to doing as well.
I participated in a teleconference with Whitehouse staff on July 23rd, in preparation for another visit in September. Federal Intergovernmental Affairs recently approached me about using Ketchikan as an example of Federal/Rural cooperation to solve local problems. I’ve also received an appointment to the Rural Action Caucus as a voting member. This will allow me to recommend national legislation and policy changes that support our borough.
We have made incredible progress as a community over the last few years and are getting our problems resolved while holding the line on taxes.
Looking forward we have significant challenges that need to be addressed. Health care costs are up nearly 20%, Borough Property Insurance costs are up 60%, Community Assistance has been cut, School Bond debt reimbursement has been transferred from the State, etc. Additionally, there is the strong possibility of additional State costs being passed on to us next year.
If you know me, you realize I am one of the most fiscally responsible people you will ever meet. I scrutinize every government expense. Just this year I have personally paid for my own borough travel/hotel and perdiem costs to save taxpayer money. I have spent more to serve the borough this year than I have made from the borough. I want you to know I value every dollar of your money and will lead by example.
All that to say…we have to pay our bills and I developed two ways we can do that without a sales or property tax rate increase.
One proposal I pushed was to raise the sales tax cap from $1000 to $2000 and this was passed by the Assembly earlier this month. This will prevent a MASSIVE property tax increase(s) in the future and will go unnoticed for about 99% of the purchases local citizens make in a year. It will also share our cost of government with the tourists and prevent the entire burden from being placed on locals. It will have no impact on seniors. Keep in mind that had I not taken action, and the Assembly waited until reserves were depleted, an even greater cost would have been passed on to the citizens. Waiting to resolve financial problems only makes them worse over time.
Just so you know I made the decision to do what was right for our community, in full realization that it could cost me a future election. I could have waited until after the election to push this proposal. Ultimately, I decided to do what had to be done, rather than play politics; I hope you will consider that.
I have been asked by Borough Mayor Landis, City Council Members and many others in our community to run for Borough Mayor this fall. For those reasons and to build upon our success, I decided to run for Mayor, rather than seek a second term on the Assembly.
A little information about my background:
I am a lifelong Alaskan and my family has lived here for generations. Out of High School I joined the military and was assigned to the 2/75th Ranger Battalion as an Army Ranger. I conducted operations in Honduras with the Contra Rebels in the 80’s and was deployed to Panama prior to the invasion. I obtained numerous awards and commendations and received an honorable discharge.
Upon leaving the military, I attended college at Franklin Pierce University prior to being hired by the State of Alaska as a State Trooper. During my career with the Troopers I made seven transfers, including two to Ketchikan. I advanced through the ranks to Acting Commander of “A” Detachment, responsible for State Law Enforcement Operations in SE Alaska, from Yakutat to Ketchikan. I supervised many locations, millions in budgets and dozens of employees.
Midway through my career, I was told that due to my leadership qualities I was selected for Advanced Management Training. I was sent to the University of Louisville Kentucky and completed the Administrative Officers School. After my return I was selected by the department as a Legislative Liaison, responsible for working with the legislature to prepare detailed reports on legislation, including bill analysis, fiscal note preparation and provide expert testimony.
I spent more than a decade working with the legislature and conducted complex research on countless items impacting the state, including many “Red File” investigations from the Governors office. This provided me with the knowledge on how to advance issues with the state, to obtain the successes mentioned above.
I am the most experienced candidate running for Mayor and far more likely to succeed in securing our fair share of funding…and I’ve proven it. I know how Juneau operates and how to submit and defend requests for services/funding. The State’s fiscal problems will continue for at least a few more years and we must fight for every dollar of a dwindling State budget.
The Mayor position is non-partisan and I will do my best to represent the best interests of all citizens if elected. I will also demand we are treated fairly by the State and Federal Government… that we fund essential services… that we take care of our elders… and do that while maintaining the growth and cost of government.
It’s incredibly important that we build on the progress we have made on the federal level and continue to work with our Congressional delegation and the Whitehouse to solve our local problems. Failure to do so will only make our island more expensive. This will also put us in a better position to deal with future cuts in state funding. We have the momentum, let’s keep it going!
Thank you so much Ketchikan. It has been an honor to serve and I appreciate the opportunity. If you select me as Borough Mayor I will do everything I can to keep our community the best in the world.
Stay Strong Ktown!
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