Sheila Finkenbinder is the founder of Sitka Works and former director of the Sitka Chamber of Commerce, once an aide to Rep. Peggy Wilson. (Emily Kwong/KCAW photo)

Sheila Finkenbinder is one of five of candidates running for two seats on the Sitka Assembly. The municipal election is Tuesday, October 2nd.

Downloadable audio.

I’m Sheila Finkenbinder. I’m running for Assembly because I’d like to help guide Sitka towards a more robust economy that will provide good jobs, and helps us cover the cost of city infrastructure and services. I’ve lived in Sitka since 1990. During that time, I’ve worked mostly in the area of helping people train for good jobs or start and grow small businesses.

I’ve gotten to know and help hundreds of Sitkans through my work at the teen center, Sitka Tribe of Alaska, as the founding director of Sitka Works, the executive director at the Chamber of Commerce, and as a legislative aide for the state house. I currently serve on the Gary Paxton Industrial Park board of directors and the Sitka Historical Society Board. I’m also an ANS (Alaska Native Sisterhood) member and a sustaining member of Raven Radio. I’ve been an active community volunteer throughout my 28 years in Sitka.

Lately, I’ve heard from a lot of people who feel that their voices haven’t been heard by the Assembly — and they’re looking for change. I feel I can be a part of that change by listening respectfully and helping to steer conversations in a positive direction that will lead to solutions.

I think we can all agree that our most pressing problem right now is affordability. Currently, we’re seeing more people leaving Sitka rather than moving to town. That trend needs to be reversed.

I believe there are three key things we need to focus on in order to make Sitka more affordable, as well as keeping it a pleasant and safe place to live.

First, we need to trim the city’s budget to a level that we can sustain without raising taxes or fees in the short run.

Second, we need to grow the economy and create jobs. The Assembly should be seen as clearly business-friendly, removing barriers and creating incentives for new and existing businesses.

Third, we need to get serious about making housing more affordable through zoning changes, incentives to builders or property owners, or other creative solutions. We can and must make changes that will affect both home owners and renters.

I’m convinced that if we listen to the people and listen to all the city boards and commissions, we can strengthen our community and attract more residents — all while adhering to the Comprehensive Plan that was created with so much community input. A healthy economy,  supporting a growing arts and cultural community, will continue to make Sitka an amazing place to live.

I’m Sheila Finkenbinder, Assembly candidate, and I’m asking for your vote on October 2nd. Thank you.

See our reporting on Finkenbinder 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.