Another Sitkan has filed to run for the local Assembly. Kevin Mosher is a 44-year-old accountant. While new to public office, he’s running out of a concern for the outward flow of citizens who cannot afford to stay. If elected, he wants the Sitka Assembly to refuse any further taxes and cut government instead.
Kevin Mosher came to Sitka in 1993. Born in New Jersey, the culture shock gradually gave way to a feeling of home. “I fell in love with Sitka and Southeast Alaska. I fell absolutely in love with this town,” Mosher said.
Mosher came to Sitka with the Coast Guard at the age of 19, working as a cook on the Cutter Woodrush and at Air Station Sitke. Switching careers, earned a business degree from UAS, met his wife Theresa, and started a family. Mosher has been an accountant at Shee Atika Incorporated for the past seven years. He’s also worked in accounting at ALPS and Sitka Community Hospital.
Mosher wants to stay in Sitka and that’s, in part, why he’s running for the Sitka Assembly. The spark began when, attending the Sitka Economic Summit in April, there was a conversation at the table about how Sitka has one of the lowest property taxes in the state. Mosher didn’t like line of thinking. “I really have a problem when people use statistics to compare Sitka to other communities, because Sitka is very unique,” he said.
So, Mosher dedicated himself to learning more about what makes Sitka unique and has attended nearly every Assembly meeting ever since.
Whenever a new tax or rate increase comes up, he often tells the Assembly during public testimony to reverse course. He told KCAW, “I think we’re in a boat with a hole and it is gushing water inside. That water is people leaving town and thinking about leaving town.”
His message? That rather than look for more revenue within Sitka’s tax base, the Assembly should excavate the city budget, line by line. “Maybe we cut the travel budget. Maybe we don’t replace the vehicles every 10 years, instead we do it every 15 or 20 years. Maybe we don’t fire anyone, but we eliminate a few positions if necessary by attrition. There’s tough things that needs to be decided,” he said. As for revenue, he wants to incentivize new business.
Mosher recognizes he still has a lot to learn and that the Assembly’s power is limited. But, he said, he’d rather the process for city budgeting change entirely so the Assembly can get more involved. He’s driven to help low income Sitkans that are struggling to stay.
“I know what it’s like to struggle. And I it gives me empathy and understanding what people are going through. A lot of people saying, ‘We need to pay their fair share,’ usually those are people making a very comfortable living. The thing I love about this town is people are willing to do whatever it takes to live here, because they love it. If they have to work two jobs, that’s okay. But it’s getting to the point where two jobs isn’t enough anymore. And that’s not okay,” Mosher told KCAW.
Mosher filed to run for Assembly on Tuesday afternoon. Gary Paxton has also filed to run for Mayor. The filing period for local office closes at 5 p.m. on Friday, August 3rd.