Gary Paxton of Sitka is a former municipal administrator and army veteran, running for the mayoral seat this year. (Emily Kwong/KCAW photo)

Gary Paxton is one of three candidates running for Mayor in Sitka. The municipal election is Tuesday, October 2nd.

Downloadable audio.

Sitka is a wonderful place to live and to raise a family.

I’m Gary Paxton and I am running for Mayor. I grew up in Sitka, graduated from Sitka High in 1957, graduated from the military academy in 1962, commissioned in infantry. I spent 30 years in the Army, 40 months in Vietnam, six years in Europe where I commanded a battalion and brigade at the height of the Cold War, and six years in D.C. where I had high level staff jobs.

I was city administrator in Sitka for nine years, which was a wonderful period of time for me. I was on the Sheldon Jackson Board of Trustees when [Sheldon Jackson College] closed. We provided the main campus to the Sitka Fine Arts Camp – Roger [Schmidt] is doing a great job – and the Sage Building to the Sitka Sound Science Center, where Lisa [Busch] is also doing a great job. I served many years on the vestry of St. Peter’s By the Sea Episcopal Church. I was director of Southeast Region for the state Department of Transportation for two years.

My platform is basically two things: sustainable budget and accessibility.

With a sustainable budget, there are two pieces to it. The first is to vigorously pursue economic development and help create jobs. It’s good for all our citizens, particularly young people, and it creates revenue for the city. The second is to have a detailed, comprehensive understanding of the city budget and get the city to have less of an impact on our community because of the cost of city government. The burden of city government is difficult for our citizens, particularly about a third of them. You need to have at least a commitment to reducing that burden.

Under that burden, it’s about understanding our community — which I think I do. I not only understand it, I respect all elements: from our senior citizens, who have done so much; to our Native community, which is such a part of our history and our soul; our Filipino community; our health and educational community; our business community; and our historical, environmental, and arts part of our community, which gives such an important part to our quality of life; our Coast Guard, both active and reserved; and lastly our fishing community, which like our Native community, is part of our ethos. It is also an important part of our economy.

The second part of accessibility is I have no political agenda. My only agenda is Sitka. Everybody needs a place at the table. They need to be listened to with respect and understanding and [for the Assembly] to take their advice willingly and to see if they can’t lead us to a better place.

God bless you all. I am running for Mayor. Pax out.

See our reporting on Paxton filing for the Sitka Assembly here.

The municipal election is Tuesday, October 2nd. Polls for both precincts will be open at Harrigan Centennial Hall from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on that day. Advanced (in-person) voting will be available weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on the third floor of City Hall from September 17 until October 1. Absentee voting by mail is available through September 25. For further information, contact the Municipal Clerk’s Office at 747-1811 or 747-1826. See a sample of the ballot here.