SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Ketchikan Regular Election Oct. 04, 2022
Early & In-Person Absentee Voting Begins 09/19/22

Ketchikan Borough Mayor
3 Year Term (One Seat Open)

Katie Jo Parrott


Received: September 24, 2022
Published: September 24, 2022

1. Why you are running for office.

jpg Katie Jo Parrott Candidate for Ketchikan Borough Mayor October 04, 2022

My name is Katie Jo Parrott, and I’m running for office because, ultimately, I love this community and I am committed to seeing it thrive, and I believe I can be a good representative of the interests of Ketchikan’s citizens. I’m running to give Ketchikan a choice in leadership, the kind of leadership that will create community, collaboratively problem solve, build consensus, share in accomplishments, and cast a vision for the future that is inclusive of all community members.

I also aspire to uphold the intent and purpose of the Borough mayor’s position as a non-partisan, ceremonial facilitator of Borough business, as is outlined in Borough code and as established by Ketchikan’s voters in selecting a strong manager form of government. I came to the decision as a result of being asked to consider running by several community members I admire and highly respect based on the desire for this kind of change in leadership voiced by many in the community. While it was not something I had originally planned on pursuing as an idea all my own, I realized that I have the knowledge, skills, abilities, desire, and disposition to represent our community well. Many community members, groups, and organizations agree. I have been officially endorsed by the Alaska Public Employees Association/Alaska Federation of Teachers (APEA/AFT).

2. Experience and education.

I have lived in Alaska for the vast majority of my adult life, coming to Ketchikan for the first time at the age of 18 in 2000, and moving permanently to Ketchikan in 2002. I live with my husband Jim, who is a self-employed charter fisherman and a commercial diver, and our children Grace (18), Reuben (14), and Ian (11). All of my children attend public schools, and I am a huge proponent of public education. I hold three degrees from the University of Alaska Southeast - an associates, bachelors, and a Master’s degree in Public Administration, and more recently completed a Master of Arts degree from Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English. I also hold a Senior Certified Professional certification in HR Management through the Society of Human Resources Management. I am a tribal member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.

My recent career experience has been in administration in a variety of sectors - private non-profit, public, and tribal - in the fields of behavioral health, youth & social services, workforce development, higher ed. and K-12 education. I currently work for Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District as the Business Manager, overseeing finance, risk management, food service and student transportation on behalf of the District. During the pandemic and in between transitions in leadership, I stepped in to serve as the Acting Superintendent as well. Prior to my time with the District, I was the Director of the Ketchikan Indian Community’s Education and Training Department, briefly also serving as the Social Services Director. I have also served as the Director of Quality Assurance & Program Development for Residential Youth Care, a youth serving non-profit where I started as a case manager. Lastly, I previously was an adjunct instructor in the English department at the University of Alaska Southeast.

I currently serve as a Board Member on the Alaska Association of School Business Officials (ALASBO) where I am active in the Education Funding work group that advises District and legislative officials across the state and advocates for K-12 education funding; and am also the Treasurer for Ketchikan Church of the Nazarene. I occasionally act as a federal grant reviewer for the US Department of Education and the Office of Indian Education, and hold a wealth of knowledge on both state and federal grant programs.

3. Community involvement

In addition to my current roles, I have enjoyed being an active member of the community and region. Below is list of my extensive volunteer work:

  • Judge for UAA’s Democracy & Civic Action Essay Contest (2019-Present)
  • Contributor/Developer in the Alaska Children’s Trust History & Hope Curriculum (2017-2019)
  • Former Board member for the Ketchikan Church of the Nazarene (2016-2019 reached term limit)
  • Steering committee member for the SE Alaska Postsecondary Access & Completion Network (2018)
  • Member of the Alaska’s 1115 Behavioral Health Waiver Team, Quality Focus, for the Division of Behavioral Health (2016-2017)
  • Lead data analyst for the Alaska Governor’s Voices for Vision Budget Survey (2015)
  • Ghostwriter for the Alaska Association of Homes for Children (2014-2015)
  • Member of the Alaska Workforce Investment Board Youth Council (2014-2015)
  • Member of the Ketchikan Charter School Academic Policy Committee (2012-2013)

Additionally, my husband and I have been therapeutic foster parents and I have served in an advisory capacity on several local task forces and initiatives, focusing primarily on non-profit organizations and work in youth services. I have also been a panel presenter and trainer at events throughout the state of Alaska including the Alaska Council of School Administrators Legislative Fly-In, Alaska Superintendent’s Certification program, Alaska Residential Care for Children & Youth Summit, United Youth Courts of Alaska annual conference, and the Alaska Division of Behavioral Health winter change agent conference.

I feel that my investment in the community and volunteer time spent on issues I care about speaks for itself, and I’m ready to give 110% to Ketchikan.

4. Identify at least two significant issues and challenges facing our community and your ideas on addressing these issues. (Please do not just say you will be open to public input. Be specific about the issues and challenges and your specific ideas to bring to the table.)

One of the top issues facing our community is ensuring Ketchikan is an affordable place to live and work. Record high inflation and lack of affordable housing are two significant challenges for our community. We must invest in efforts to increase economic activity to increase our community’s self-sufficiency. From my perspective self-sufficiency is best achieved by leveraging all possible resources through partnership between public, private, and tribal entities to support the economic and social health of Ketchikan’s citizens. This includes pursuing economic development opportunities to diversify Ketchikan’s economy, and supporting projects and programs that decrease barriers to this goal. Public entities should leverage innovation in policy-making and providing public services to ensure cost effectiveness and create environments where industry can flourish; private business provide the economic engine and can expand or enter into new markets, while private non-profits supplement public services and can work to alleviate burden on business to meet citizens needs that are not addressed by either public services or private business. Creating synergies between each sector—generating as much activity while keeping costs low through partnerships—can provide new ways of generating wealth and economic well-being.

Since the cost of living and housing availability & cost are the top three factors that are considered in relocation (i.e. keeping citizens here and recruiting a strong workforce), the Borough must be supported in continuing its efforts to implement its Strategic Plan and the corresponding comprehensive economic development strategies, including “increasing private property ownership & supporting entrepreneurial efforts to utilize

Borough-owned land” and supporting “adequate housing opportunity for all socioeconomic classes.”

Secondly, addressing funding for our public schools and the financial health and well-being of the Local Education Fund (LEF) is critical. I support directing payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILT) revenue to the LEF since education is one of the allowable uses of those federal funds, and doing so will close the ongoing operating deficit of around $1 million dollars. However, we cannot allow the state’s underfunding of its public education system to continue to be a burden on the local municipality. We must take a much more active role in advocating for adequate state funding of K-12 education. Eight years of flat state funding of the foundation formula has led to cuts, with the expectation that local communities cover the gap, as cost increases are inevitable and have accelerated in recent years. Inadequate funding of the state’s constitutional obligation to our public education system should not be a further economic burden on Ketchikan’s residents.

In order to address the challenges that face our community in the coming years, I commit to listening, working together, finding solutions, and representing Ketchikan with integrity and singleness of purpose to make it the jewel of SE Alaska. I am willing to make sacrifices in order to accomplish the will of Ketchikan residents and uphold the public’s trust. I humbly ask for your vote on October 4th.


For over two decades, SitNews has provided a front page section at no cost for all candidates for the local Ketchikan Assembly, School Board, City Council, and Mayors to provide information about themselves and their campaign for the voters to consider.

All candidates are encouraged to participate. SitNews will begin accepting candidates' statements on  September 05, 2022 for publication.  Note: Early or Absentee-In-Person Voting will begin on September 19, 2022. In person voting at the polls will be Oct. 04, 2022.

In your statement please tell the voters:

1. Why you are running for office.

2. Experience and education.

3. Community involvement

4. Identify at least two significant issues and challenges facing our community and your ideas on addressing these issues. (Please do not just say you will be open to public input. Be specific about the issues and challenges and your specific ideas to bring to the table.)

5. Email a digital photograph. 

6. Email your information in text format or as a doc file and photo to

Additional comments are allowed. (Posted Online: August 27, 2022 - Invitations to Participate were emailed to all candidates on August 27, 2022.) Editor SitNews

Printed ballots for inspection for the October 4, 2022 election will be available September 14, 2022. 

Last Day to register to vote in the local election is Sept. 04, 2022

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