Election Coverage

Assembly candidates tested at Chamber forum

Candidates for Sitka Assembly at the Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday (9-12-12), l to r: Michelle Putz, Phyllis Hackett, Matt Hunter, Aaron Swanson, Dallas Peavey. (KCAW Photo/Robert Woolsey)

Candidates for Sitka assembly had their first test in the spotlight Wednesday afternoon (9-12-12) during a forum before the Sitka Chamber of Commerce.

The five candidates made brief introductory remarks, and then answered a prepared list of questions from the Chamber, before fielding written questions from the audience.

The candidates were poised and thoughtful, although several have had no prior experience in local government. Candidate Matt Hunter even managed to roll out an election-season zinger, in this exchange with forum moderator Dan Jones.

Jones – What is your position on the privatization of city services? Are there any city services you would like to see privatized?
Hunter – Well, to practice being a politician, let me answer a different question.
(Audience laughter.)

Hunter, by the way, answered that the city should in no way compete with private businesses in town, unless those businesses were already at capacity.

Each of the other candidates — Michelle Putz, Phyllis Hackett, Aaron Swanson, and Dallas Peavey — had one minute to answer this same question, and many others, over the course of the hour-and-fifteen minute forum. We’ve divided the entire forum into separate parts: You can listen to each question, and the candidates’ answers, by clicking on the links below.

Next week, the Sitka Chamber of Commerce will hold a similar forum for the three candidates running for mayor. The forum will be at the same time, but a different venue than usual: Noon, Wednesday, September 19, 2012, at the Dock Shack, in Totem Square.

Raven Radio also will broadcast live municipal election forums next week, beginning at 6:35 PM Monday with assembly candidates, 6:35 PM Tuesday for mayoral candidates, with a third forum tentatively scheduled for 6:35 PM Wednesday for Sitka’s one declared school board candidate, and one official write-in candidate.

Candidate introductions.
What have you done to prepare yourself to serve on the assembly?
What are your ideas to develop our local economy?
Do you feel the Sitka Convention and Visitors Bureau should be allocated more funding for marketing?
How do you suggest Sitka fund infrastructure, during a period of declining oil revenues?
Property taxes are unrealistically low to support infrastructure. How would you address this?
What is the role of government in providing basic services?
What is your position on the privatization of city services?
Would you support redirecting part of the solid waste budget used to ship waste to Washington, to repurpose waste locally?
Between 2000-2012 Sitka has seen double-digit declines in the population of children and young families, and corresponding increases in those over 55. What are your thoughts?
Are you for or against a downtown deep water cruise dock?
Why should we vote for you?

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