Election Day. Finally! Please Vote.
Why did I decide to run for Haines Borough Assembly? As if I don't have enough going on? It's sort of a long story--
My husband and I came to Haines in early 1984 so he could work for the sawmill. Chip was trained as a forester, and has a Masters' degree in forestry and environmental studies. When the mill shut down about a year and half later, John Schnabel, a former mill-owner, offered us the lumberyard, Lutak Lumber, in order to make a living and stay here, if we met the payments. He said he wanted Chip and I to live in Haines and raise our family. John said he believed we’d be good for the community. I asked what the catch was, and he said, “Contribute to the community—be involved—that’s all I ask.” – so we did that: Chip was on the City Council and then the unified Borough Assembly for 15 plus years,has been on the bike race board as treasurer since its inception, and is on the Arts Council board, and the Chilkat Valley Community Foundation board. Our business employs ten people and has been helping local builders and do-it-your-selfers complete projects large and small for 30 years.
When Dr. Jones closed his health clinic, Chip and I were part of a group who formed the Lynn Canal Medical Corp. to run the clinic as a non- profit, and thus keep medical care in our community. A few years later we turned it over to SEARHC. My life has been saved by local EMTs and the emergency room staff at that clinic.
I coached cross country at the High School for 17 years and mentored a lot of kids and learned a lot from them and their parents—those teams and the library are my proudest contributions to Haines, aside from my family. Chip remains my number one advisor. I'm currently a volunteer for and on the Hospice and radio boards and Borough planning commission, but over the years have followed John's wishes in many ways. (Some, I'm sure, he wishes I hadn't. John never did tell us how to do this, but he and I did disagree a few times.)
What really nudged me to do more now, was when this spring I was asked to write and deliver John Schnabel's eulogy, as well as a very different community father, Ray Menaker's. I liked and admired them both very much. One was a business leader, the other left a huge legacy of Haines non-profit and community institutions. I also had to write Aaron Nash's eulogy, and that was the hardest thing I have ever done, and with all of those, I realized I am in so deep here. I owe Haines. This is my home place in all the world, and I think we are in a a little trouble. I believe this administration has run our governing process off the rails and into a ditch, and those of us who are able to get us out of it and back on track-- like me-- need to step up. Our government needs to be more responsive to the citizens, and more careful about tossing our money about. I realize that I am not the smartest person in the room on many issues, and will do my best to bring those who know more to the table to help us.
Before I wrote books, I was on the preschool board, acted in and directed plays and served on the board of Lynn Canal Community Players and was chairman of the Alaska Community Theater Festival held in Haines. (I have done many plays since then as well, including playing Kate in "Dancing at Lughnasa" two years ago, and Spot the Dog in the "Holly Jolly Follies" last Christmas..) I also played softball for the Diehards, and one of the highlights of my life was winning Dustball in Whitehorse.
I was a history major in college, and think the Sheldon and Hammer museums and bald eagle foundation natural history museum are incredible Haines assets. The Art's Confluence sculpture garden is a wonder. I am a dog person, and think HARK is the best thing that has happened to pets and their people in Haines. I've ridden my bike 3500 miles on local roads this summer so I know them intimately, and am looking forward to new shoulders on the highway when it's rebuilt. I hike on our trails, and swim in the pool with the other "early birds."
I shop locally and encourage others to do so, and believe that is the single easiest way for the Borough to grow our economy. A simple shop at home campaign that reminds everyone that nearly 1/3 of the current Borough budget comes from sales tax, and that means if you love the library, school activities, and timely plowed snow you should support your local merchants, could do wonders to increase that portion of our budget.
I have served on the Borough Assembly before, and the school board, and my first term on the library board was back in 1986 and my last one just ended. I was on the team that built the library, which I consider the crown jewel of Haines. I was also on the school board that built the new school. The community voted for those projects and we should vote on the harbor expansion, too.
More recently, I worked hard to create the non-motorized Chilkat Beaches Recreation Area. I support the highest protection possible for the Chilkat River and the salmon we all depend on.
I have written over 400 local obituaries. I know where we came from, but I have two local daughters and four local grandchildren and will always think of their future, and all our young families' when I make choices.
In our family of five children, plus now their spouses, we have commercial fishermen, heliskiers, rafters, an EMT, a Zumba instructor, two teachers, a fisheries biologist, a physical therapist, pilot, traditional Tlingit dancers and a canoe paddler, and an award winning Big Brothers Big Sisters of Alaska match support specialist.
They help me to understand our diverse community better.
If I am elected, I will do my best to make government more responsive to citizens. I don't believe that assembly members should have information that the rest of us don't. That drives me nuts.
I will spend public money wisely-- as if it were my own. Before each decision I will ask: Do people want it, do we need it, can we afford it, and how will it contribute to the greater good?
But mostly, I think I can help the assembly work for us, rather than against us, and after three years of positive, friendly leadership, convince the next generation that it's not so rough to run for, or be in public office in Haines, and that it won't occupy every waking moment to do, so that they will step up and take over this fine town.
Everyone I have spoken to during the campaign says they love living in Haines because of the people, the small-town community, and the beautiful and bountiful environment. We have a lot more in common than divides us.
That's why I'm running-- and I'd appreciate your vote.
The polls are open Tuesday from 7am-8pm at the Chilkat Center and the Klehini Valley Fire Hall. Please vote. Thank you.