A sixth applicant has filed for appointment to the assembly seat vacated by Terry Blake last month.

Sherry Aitken, the operations manager for Tribal Tours, submitted her paperwork to the municipal clerk late last week.

Aitken says she had been thinking about applying for the appointment since Blake announced his resignation this spring, but became busy at work and missed the deadline.

“Then, I was actually listening to Raven Radio one morning just after I thought they were going to be making the appointment, and I heard there was a procedural glitch. And I thought, Oh, well maybe that’s a sign that I have an opportunity to put my name forward.”

The “glitch” was in the timing of the vote to replace Blake. It was originally scheduled to take place on June 26th, before Blake had officially stepped down. The mistake was caught by Sentinel editor Thad Poulson – who helped write Sitka’s charter – and the vote was rescheduled for today Tuesday, July 10.

Aitken has lived in Sitka since moving here as a three-year-old in 1971. Her father, Al Aitken, worked for the US Forest Service; her step father was a carpenter in the construction industry. Aitken acknowledges that Sitka is a different community now.

“I think this is a very transitional time for Sitka. It’s changing. The type of economic situation that Sitka is in is changing, and I think it’s going to be very different than it was in the past, and I’m very interested in that. I want to be helpful to that process.”

Aitken has no prior experience in local office, but she’s no stranger to the assembly process. She may be one of the very few people who follow municipal government as a spectator.

“It’s kind of weird, but I actually find it interesting to be there. Sometimes I go and sit and listen to issues that concern me. So in a way I think it’s different than other folks view it.”

Aitken has been married 18 years; she and her husband have a 10-year-old son going into fifth grade. Although she works in the visitor industry now, Aitken says she’s had a wide range of jobs in Sitka, including chartering and commercial fishing. She thinks working people need a voice on the assembly.

“I feel like it would be nice to have folks that are in that part of their life where they’re still engaging in regular work, and then balancing out that with their family life.”

If appointed, Aitken says she does not plan to run for the remainder of Blake’s one-year term in the municipal election this October. She says this appointment is just a chance to get her feet wet.

Aitken joins five other applicants for the appointment: Bill Paden, Jack Ozment, Ryan Haug, Matt Hunter, and Michelle Putz. Learn more about the other applicants here.

The assembly is not obligated to appoint any of the individuals who have applied, and may select any qualified voter in Sitka to fill the vacancy.