Gary Paxton

Age: 79

How many years have you lived in Sitka and in Alaska?: 49 years

Describe your family: Wife and three children

Occupation:  Retired

Community involvement, past and present:  Administrator, Sheldon Jackson College trustee, Southeast Economic Development Association Board

Previous government or other relevant experience:  30 years in the U.S. Army

Why are you running for Mayor of Sitka this year?  To provide leadership, experience, and unite our community

What are your top two priorities if elected?  (1) Ensure negotiations with SEARHC provide a health care system that is equal to or better than our current system, that Sitka Community Hospital employees are taken care of, and increase trust within our community. (2) Lessen the cost of the City and Borough of Sitka to our citizens


Describe your leadership style. If elected, what kind of Mayor 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?

Accessible. Positive. Problem solver. Provide Sitka the status it deserves and the resources needed.


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? 

The City and Borough of Sitka needs to live within their means and the budget needs to be examined in a thoughtful responsible way to determine how they can reduce their cost to our citizens.


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?

See comments above.

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?

If the sales tax exemption is reinstated, we must ensure the rebate process for deserving citizens is easy and non threatening.


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? 

It’s a priority.


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? 

Again, we need to maintain our infrastructure with the dollars available.