Another Sitkan filed to run for the Sitka Assembly on Friday morning (07-201-18). Sheila Finkenbinder is campaigning on a pro-business platform and is driven by an abiding concern about Sitka’s rising cost of living.

Downloadable audio.

Sheila Finkenbinder is the founder of Sitka Works and former director of the Sitka Chamber of Commerce, once an aide to Rep. Peggy Wilson. (Photo courtesy of Sheila Finkenbinder)

Born in Miami, Florida, Sheila Finkenbinder has lived in Sitka since 1990. She is an active participant in the business community, owning several ventures over the years and founding Sitka Works to help other entrepreneurs get on their feet. She’s seen a steady trickle of traffic off-island, like many, and doesn’t “want that trend to continue.”

“I know people of all income levels in town who are just saying, ‘It’s getting too expensive to live here and we’re moving out of town.’ And we can’t afford that to keep happening. We need to somehow try and turn things around,” Finkenbinder said to KCAW over the phone.

Finkenbinder has run for office before: first for state house in 2016 and then for Assembly in 2017. She fell shy of election by 66 votes to current Assembly member Ben Miyasato.

As before, Finkenbinder’s platform is all about growing Sitka’s tax base by attracting more business. “Businesses can use more electricity and thereby keep rates down. More people buying more stuff, paying more taxes. If there’s more of us paying taxes, it kind of helps to share the burden,” she said.

See Finkenbinder’s 2017 candidate statement for Assembly here 

Finkenbinder is especially keen on businesses that rake in dollars from outside the community, like fishing or manufacturing or craftsmanship. She’s aware a town cannot grow it’s economic pie overnight. As a first step, Finkenbinder wants to look for ways to cut City Hall. She doesn’t know where she’d want to cut. “How that’s done…I don’t think any of us know at this point. I know that Gary Paxton, who is running for Mayor, understands the budget pretty well. We’re going to have to dig into it really deeply and there are probably going to be some things that are painful,” she said.

Finkenbinder has been an active voice in the community and Sitka Republican Women for some time, but has never held elected office before. She sits on the Gary Paxton Industrial Park Board and volunteers with the Sitka Historical Society. She’s working this summer at the Russian American Company. 

Last week, Kevin Mosher filed to run for the Sitka Assembly and Gary Paxton filed to run for Mayor