SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Mary L. Stephenson

Candidate for Ketchikan City Council
Two Year Term (One Seat Open)

October 06, 2020 - Tuesday
Ketchikan Regular Election


Received: September 10, 2020
Published September 10, 2020

My name is Mary L. Stephenson and I am running for the 2-year city council seat.

jpg Mary L. Stephenson

In tourism since 1982, my tours covered 15 western states, Canada and Mexico. I arrived in Alaska in 2006 via Haines, through the Yukon Territory into Dawson City and Alaska via Tok; residing in Anchorage, Kodiak (2007), Sitka (2011) and Ketchikan (2014).

I look for community projects using skills from various careers. In Kodiak, I took B&B innkeepers and fishing charter captains from paper bookkeeping to online reservations. Designed two business directories for Merchants and Restaurants/Bars; 35,000 printed in four years. Kodiak Airport permitted installation of Telephone Business Directory for travelers - back when payphones were more convenient than cell phones. Found a niche working a tour desk selling tours and concierge service for travelers and seafood labors looking for housing; first-timers thrill seekers looking for work out to Bering Sea fishing grounds. All the while conducting tours to independent travelers and cruise patrons.

In Sitka, I had an opportunity to reach out to caretakers and owners of private historic sites with the project, Historic Art in Sitka. With over 40 historic buildings, 16 owners were anxious to tell the stories on historic markers, including St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral 1848, Building No. 29 1852, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church 1900, and Sitka’s Pioneer Home 1913 just to name a few. Today all are part of Sitka’s Historic Walking Tour. As a taxi driver, I could never find the house for lack of visible number. So, with the support of Sitka’s Fire Department we reached out to property owners with free house numbers. Immediately became a huge success with first responders, postal delivery services and visitors. Challenging project ~ You’re Welcome!

It was easy to fall in love with Ketchikan, the First City. Blending stories of Alaskan native history with Russia into Kodiak, Sitka and British into Ketchikan, I fell right into the pace of driving and guiding a city-wildlife tour with a slight change in flora, marine life and (brown vs. black) bears adventure. Sourdough Tours and KetchiTours kept me employed driving 29-passenger buses and 30-minute walking tour of Historic Creek Street. Thank You. The highest compliment one receives at the end of a tour on a liquid-sunshine day, ‘Were you a teacher before guiding?’ Yes, my classroom began 1982 in San Francisco and covered 15 western states, Canada and Mexico. Find a Need and Fill It - this summer the 2020 Summer Activities Directory (5,250) were printed and appreciated by merchants, tour operators and hospitality letting everyone know ‘we’re open’! Part of my commitment to rid litter from city streets, city-borough-private businesses are taking delivery of 17 decorative trash receptacles in September. Fabulous!

I am gathering supporters, like you, to engage in city hall politics. Change is on the horizon, the unexpected pandemic gave pause to our lives and recovery will require council members, mayor, city manager and dedicated staff, likewise borough staff and community, working together to heal and support our future. Unlike the low impact when processing fish or timber, 2M souls (cruise patrons/crew, independent/business travelers, and workforce laborers) utilize more than we can sustain. If that means better port management then we-best get it right with the first contract setting the pace and our destiny into perpetuity.
• Conservation #4 on platform.

My campaign is focusing on three of ten issues: a savings account, an advisory board and year-around development:

• Hit the Reset Button with a commitment to include Community Enterprise Fund. If the community approves a port management consulting firm who offers financial package that eases the deficit and next 10-years General Budget, we owe it to ourselves to set up a savings account for projects and quality of life improvements that have been postponed when putting others first. The populous of Ketchikan should not have to sustain what feels like half the world on our door step every summer. CEF is perfect for rainy day projects…a luxury not yet realized!

• City Council needs a Community Advisory Board! Public comments during Person-to-be-Heard segment is not enough time, nor shown respect for person and topic, to address current events important to the community.

At the end of segment, a show of-4 hands puts the topic on the Community Advisory Board agenda. Engage the community in a dialogue forwarding suggestions onto council within 30 days. With recommendations in hand council can best represent their constituents with well-written ordinances and make preparation for enforcement. • Revisit topics on discrimination and police presence and standards.

• Focus on year-around economic development! Ketchikan happens …365 days ~ not just our summer visitor season. We must do a much better job marketing our attributes, bringing new businesses to our community; and focusing on new opportunities like NOAA port, improving our poor fisheries infrastructure, and rebuilding our wood products industry. Ketchikan always has the Open House displayed on the dock post. Bundle marketing efforts with 3 other seaports and target western U.S. states and Alaska with a Fly-Ferry-Drive Southeast Alaska getaway from March through November. Economic growth is the result of reaching out to industries providing land, labor, capital and entrepreneurship. As a result their investment will raise the standards of living and economic growth benefiting community General Budget. They say…Water is the new Gold!

If not me, then who, if not now, then when? I shall serve to the best of my entrepreneur organizational skills and leadership abilities. I am gathering supporters, like you, to re-engage in city hall policymaking.

Elect Mary L. Stephenson to city council to finish up Unfinished Business!

Respectfully submitted,
Mary L. Stephenson
PO Box 5506 Ketchikan Alaska 99901
(907) 254-2121 Email:

Paid for by Stephenson2020Council, P.O. Box 5506 Ketchikan Alaska 99901
[SitNews Editor's Note: No local candidates are charged for publication of their candidates statements in this 'about the candidates' information section provided free by SitNews.]



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