Tristan Guevin is one of five candidates running for two open seats on the Sitka Assembly.

Downloadable audio.

140902_TristanGuevin_waldholzMy name is Tristan Guevin and I am a candidate for the City and Borough of Sitka Assembly.

Since declaring my candidacy, I’ve had the opportunity to speak with and get to know a number of you; I’ve had the opportunity to meet new Sitkans and to become better acquainted with those I already knew; this is the aspect of the campaign I’ve enjoyed the most; having these conversations, hearing about your connection to Sitka and listening to your ideas for how to make it even better place.

In most of these conversations, I’m generally asked two questions: why am I running for Assembly and what am I going to do if elected?

I am running for Assembly because I believe in Sitka and Sitkans; because I believe in the work that has been done and continues do be done across all sectors of our community; and because I believe strongly in local governance, public process and the value of community.

But more than all of that, when you really get to the heart of it, I am running for Assembly because Sitka is the place I’ve chosen to call home and because I want to make it a better place for my family, friends and loved ones; for my parents Cindy Litman and Tony Guevin; my sister Rhiannon; for my aunt and uncle Susan and Michael Litman; for my adopted Dakl’aweidí and Sitka Native Education Program families; and for the friends, who like me, hope to buy a home and raise their children here.

Through my work as an educator, administrator and planner for the Sitka Tribe of Alaska and Sitka Native Education Program, I’ve had the opportunity to work with and get to know people from across all sectors of our community. Through this experience I have come to know and appreciate the many people who make our community what it is; those who work in our schools, the tour operators, local shop owners and merchants, commercial fishermen, boat builders and welders, health and social service workers, hunters and providers, authors and administrators, restaurant workers and more.

And while Sitka is an amazing place to live, we still have work to do; for example, 36% of children in our school district qualify as low-income. That’s something we should be concerned about as a community, that’s too many Sitkans living in or near poverty, to many families just trying to get by from paycheck to paycheck. Much like the goal of closing the achievement gap between low-income and non-low income students set by our school board, our city and Assembly need to prioritize closing the wage and income gap. We need to work on creating more good-paying middle class jobs and more affordable housing options.

If elected to the City and Borough of Sitka Assembly, I hope to use my experience as a planner, administrator and grants manager to bring a long-range and fiscally responsible perspective to Sitka’s city government. I also hope to use my graduate-level academic background in economic development and policy analysis to leverage local, state and federal support to take advantage of Sitka’s current resources and our many natural advantages.

As an Assembly member I will pledge to be informed, engaged and supportive, and I will pledge to use my position to support and empower the citizens of Sitka, our city administrators and staff, our commissions and commissioners, and the businesses, public agencies and non-profits that make our community what it is.