Local News

Candidate statement: Mike Reif

Mike Reif is a candidate for City & Borough of Sitka Assembly. The municipal election is Tue Oct 4.

As a long term resident and dedicated public servant of Sitka, I want to be your Assembly Member once again. To earn your vote, I ask that you look at my experience, my commitment of service to our community, and my top priorities.

Nearly 35 years ago I knew Sitka would be my home for life. My college degree in Forest Management was my ticket to leave my childhood city of Detroit, Michigan and pursue a dream opportunity in Sitka of seasonal employment with the Forest Service in 1977. By 1981, I decided to make Sitka my home. Sitka was alive with opportunities and I was ambitious with an entrepreneurial spirit. Not long after, I created Reif’s Hammers & Pipes, a residential home building, plumbing and heating business, lasting 25 years. My drive and specialization in that work was to create energy efficient homes, for which I received a statewide award. Beyond these land based experiences, the oceans surrounding Sitka beckoned me.

In 1991 I started another business, Sitka Sea Roamer. This business keeps me on the ocean engaged in both charter and commercial fishing, sharing Sitka’s beauty with visiting guests, and working with our fishing industry in harvesting halibut, black cod, and diving for sea cucumbers. Life is much more than work, it is also about family and community.

I have the joyful experience along with my wife, Melanie, of raising our daughter in this “kid friendly” community. Our daughter now lives in New York City, but we know that the values of Sitka provided her a foundation to follow her dreams. One amazing value is Sitka’s spirit of community service. Our family volunteering locally, and Melanie’s work in the human service field has reinforced the importance of serving in one’s community.

This community connection has inspired my passion to volunteer in Sitka governance as well as globally. From 1991-1994, I was a member of the Sitka Assembly and Deputy Mayor for two years. For many years I was a member and chair of the Sitka Planning and Zoning Commission, the Sitka Charter Review Commission, the Sitka Comprehensive Plan, a member of the Sitka Investment Committee, and more. During the last four years, I volunteered in both the Philippines and Cambodia. All of these experiences demonstrate that I am job ready for your Assembly.

As your Assembly member I will focus on what local government does best which is educating our children, police and fire protection, and providing reliable utilities. Additional priorities are creating a welcoming environment for our business community. Immediate attention is needed with regard to our limited electrical supply and devising and implementing a plan that promote conservation and an equitable rate structure.

These are challenging economic times with expected reduced federal dollars coming to Alaska and Sitka as the federal government deals with huge deficits. My promise to you is to focus on the basics and to pay as we go; the goal to enjoy this wonderful place we all call home… Sitka!

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