Ketchikan Borough Election
Our local government in the Ketchikan Gateway Borough is currently faced with a multitude of conflicting issues, and varying solutions are controversial. Our growing tourist economy and our school district budget are at the forefront of those issues. Ketchikan is often led by the mindset that we can provide a quick-fix without long-term consequences, and leadership seems to be a revolving door of familiar faces. Additionally, municipalities across Alaska are under considerable distress to come up with funding due to significant State budgetary cuts to essential programs by the Dunleavy Administration. Now is the time for our borough to be led with innovative perspective from a diverse group of ages and backgrounds, and we need leadership to listen with a genuine ear, to represent our community values as a whole, rather than those of a select group.
Of tourism, while one side of the community has been voicing their concerns about the environmental impacts of the cruise industry, as well as the question of the quality of life for Ketchikan community members as a result of this expansion; another side of our community has been a strong advocate for booming economic growth, with the mindset that the cruise industry is of little to no threat to our quality of life or environment. Of the school district budget, advocates for educators and students are in strong support of funding academic and activity options in our schools, while other community members argue that their rising property tax dollars should not be funding education unless our schools evidence excellent academic performance. We are also faced with the possibility of the Ward Cove dock expansion, eliminating the AMH Ferry System, zoning issues with allowing food trucks in the borough, an unfunded addiction crisis, and implementing Indigenous Language revitalization efforts in our schools due to the linguistic emergency declared in 2018.
I believe that vital programs such as our Ferry System and Indigenous Language Learning should be funded to sustain the authenticity of a culturally and historically rich Southeast Alaska. I believe that a primary role of the borough is to fund education to nurture academic growth and support a diverse student body. I believe the Ward Cove Dock Project would be detrimental to economic and environmental elements of our community. I believe food trucks would be an amazing economic development opportunity to tap-in to. I believe there are solutions to our addiction crisis in our community that have been dismissed, and we should utilize. I believe that we should be testing our ocean waters year-round to more accurately assess the damage from cruise ship grey and black water discharge, as well as our local outfalls plaguing our environment.
Ketchikan Gateway Borough needs a leader who listens to community voice, and strives to advocate for long-term vision, not just immediate (and often temporary) band-aids. By going door to door in our community, and conducting meetings with other community leaders, I have shown my ability to listen with a genuine ear and follow-up on voiced concerns. I have spearheaded a recall petition to allow for appropriate leadership on the school board, advocated for Alaska Native Language Revitalization, and continue to seek out solutions for various concerns in our community. Going forward, it is essential to remember that the primary role of the Borough Mayor is to listen to our Borough Assembly and advocate for the decisions made by assembly members, by following protocol. It is also important to remember that the Mayor and Assembly should convey the concerns of community members in order for the borough to function for the betterment of Ketchikan. As a Borough Mayor candidate, I am absolutely the most committed and genuine leader for this roll in our community. I care to hear the concerns of all community members, and I am dependable enough to dig until I find solutions that reflect the vision of Ketchikan. This is a non-partisan roll in our community, and I strive to focus on local leadership without sway of the left or right. I support vital programs in our community and I never take the first “no” I hear. I hope to gain your trust in the community as a leader, and I humbly ask for you to show up to the polls on October 1st to make that happen.
Gunalchéesh, Háw’aa, Nt’oyaxan, Thank You.
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