Benjamin Miyasato

Age: 54

How many years have you lived in Sitka and in Alaska? 54 years

Describe your family: Mom, three brothers, and one sister

Occupation: Retired military, local politician

Community involvement, past and present: Sitka Assembly (a three-year term from 2013 to 2016, a one-year term as Vice Deputy Mayor from 2017 to 2018), Sitka Tribe of Alaska Council (2011-2017, Vice-Chairman for two years and Treasurer for three years)

Previous government or other relevant experience: See previous

Why are you running for Mayor of Sitka this year? We need experience on the Sitka Assembly. I have that experience.

What are your top two priorities if elected?  New police department.  Affordable housing.


Describe your leadership style. If elected, what kind of Mayor member do you want to be and how will you run your meetings? As the figurehead of the city, meeting often with state and federal officials, what do you want to accomplish?

Respectful, thoughtful, and attentive.  I will run meetings that hopefully will not run too long.  I want Sitka’s needs and issues to be brought to the attention of whomever we are discussing them with.


What’s your philosophy for funding city government, which includes enterprise funds (electricity, etc.) and the Sitka School District. Is Sitka living within its means? If not, what should be done to change that? 

We need to fund city government.  We have been trying to fund local government, but have had five straight years of budget cuts.


The city will soon enter negotiations to sell Sitka Community Hospital to SEARHC. Do you support the merger of Sitka’s two hospitals? Why or why not? And if elected, what would you do to drive or reverse that process?

Support merger.

Ballot Questions 

There are two question on the ballot, one calling for the sales tax exemption for senior citizens to be reinstated, and the other exempting Sitka from the statewide public smoking ban. Where do you stand on these issues?

Support Senior Citizen Sales Tax.  With the smoking issue, let voters decide.


Sitka has a severe lack of affordable homes, as well as a homeless population without shelter. What role – if any – does the Assembly have in supporting affordable housing and shelter? 

Support affordable housing.  Support homeless shelter.


Sitka has deferred maintenance on multiple pieces of infrastructure. To replace harbors, for instance, moorage rates have been raised. The city is seeking state bonds. What do you think of the city’s approach to capital repairs? 

We need to care of our existing infrastructure.