Ketchikan Regular Election Oct. 04, 2022
You asked me to hold the line on taxes and to support quality services. To represent Ketchikan at the State and Federal level and to work on our longstanding community concerns (policy issues). I accomplished everything you asked me to… and more.
In the six years that I have served, there have been no tax rate increases for Borough Government. To show my commitment, shortly after I was elected I asked staff to cut my Mayor’s budget to zero and I have not spent one dollar of your tax money. I have worked for years to cut unnecessary expenses and bring in additional state/federal funding to offset the need for local taxes.
I always treated the Mayor’s position as a full time job, even though it is not required.
I worked for over two years to bring our island through the pandemic. My focus from day one was:
Protect Public health,
Protect our Economy and
Protect our Freedoms.
I served on more than 200 COVID policy meetings on a local, State and Federal level; representing the citizens of the Borough. I repeatedly pushed back against calls for mandatory masking, lockdowns and attempts to divide our community. I supported efforts to keep our kids in school and even gave my office to the district to help with social distancing needs. Before the first vaccination on our island, I introduced a Resolution Supporting Protection of Individual Civil Rights Relative to COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements.
One of the greatest complements I received during my term was from the Governor who recently said: “During the Pandemic Mayors across the state were asking the state to impose mandates on them…except for one Mayor who was saying, let us make our own decisions”.
In addition to our community health concerns, this event was devastating to our economy. In late 2020, I developed a plan for the Borough and City to work together and create a community wide “Risk Assessment” outlying all impacts to our economy and local budgets. This joint effort resulted in a document that then City Mayor Sivertsen and I used to advocate for additional State/Federal funds in support of the community. I remember us sitting with the Governor in early 2021, describing the damage to our economy and working with the state to obtain additional revenue replacement.
This effort by Borough and City Staff, Mayor Sivertsen and I, and others, brought in millions in support for the community. Dedicated borough staff worked throughout the pandemic to distribute these funds to keep our citizens and business afloat. Millions were spread throughout the community for less than a 1% administration cost.
In the end, so many dedicated individuals from across the island worked together and we made it through the pandemic with better outcomes and without the division seen in other communities.
If you have followed my efforts over the years you also know I developed a plan to advance community issues all the way to the White House. We built connections and were invited back on several occasions. With the help of the White House and our Congressional Delegation, we solved longstanding community concerns. The construction taking place at the NOAA facility is a prime example of our success. This brought in a $20 million dollar investment to our community and will result in permanent Federal support of our economy going forward.
We have also been successful in saving the community millions in mandatory FEMA flood insurance costs by delaying and modifying the implementation of flood zones.
For education, I identified a way to add nearly $200 thousand per year to our local education fund (LEF) without raising taxes and was able to work with the Assembly to make that change. Recently I developed another proposal to address education needs going forward without raising homeowner property taxes.
I developed a relationship with the Governor that has resulted in appointments to three boards over the last three years. The first two boards helped us save several state jobs in the community that were intended to be transferred to Anchorage. I am currently serving on the State 911 Commission and hope to use that opportunity to bring in cell and public safety communication upgrades for the Shelter Cove Road area, to improve safety and support economic development opportunities.
I was elected as Vice President of the Alaska Conference of Mayors in my first year of service and have been appointed as a voting member of two national boards, the Rural Action Caucus and Public Lands Steering Committee. This gives us an avenue to advance Federal funding of Borough Government and Education through Federal PILT and the Secure Rural Schools program (worth about $2 million annually to the community).
I’ve worked with staff and the Assembly to advance housing issues and we recently approved three plans to pursue developments across the island. I also had recent meetings with the Governor and the USCG Commander in support of new housing.
All these things and more are possible with a Mayor who has the time and ability to advocate and work for the community in a “full time” capacity. Everything listed occurs during business hours and requires a person willing to be more than just a “Ceremonial Mayor”. Outside of the borough meetings, everything I just mentioned was done at no cost to the community…all volunteer work that I was honored to do for us. I have never missed a Borough Meeting as Mayor.
Unfortunately, like all communities we occasionally go through our growing pains as well. For some issues there is no one choice that will make everyone happy. I have long said that if any of us serve long enough, we will eventually make a decision you don’t agree with. In that light, I have consistently advocated for a Borough Government that focuses on the basics… and to the extent possible…stays out of the social issues that are dividing the country.
If we can maintain our checks and balances and remain neutral as a local government…not elevating one voice over another…we can avoid many of the mistakes other communities have made. Ultimately it takes no effort for our community to fail…the real effort is not to.
I have been a man of my word and served you to the best of my ability. I would be honored to serve for another three years and if elected will do everything I can to preserve what we all love about our community, while helping us prosper.
Thank you for your consideration.
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.
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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.)
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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.