(Photo provided by CBS)

Assembly member Kevin Knox this week filed for re-election. He joins assembly veteran Ben Miyasato and political newcomers Loyd Platson and Steve Lee in the race for two open seats on the Sitka Assembly.

Knox’s three year term expires this year and he says he initially didn’t plan to run again.  

“The job takes a lot of time, is quite challenging in a lot of ways, [and] has a fair level of stress to it sometimes,” he says. “As things were going with the state and other local political issues, I became more and more compelled, again, to continue my service to our community. “

Knox moved to Sitka in 1973. He graduated from Sitka High, and lived in Seattle for 17 years before moving back in 2009. He’s worked in public health policy, construction, and aviation. Now he coaches the Baranof Barracuda Swim Club. 

Knox says he wants to continue the work he started on the assembly during his first term: Addressing affordability in Sitka and creating a more equitable tax structure. 

 “Our community is rather sales tax heavy, as far as the revenue that’s generated for Sitka,” says Knox. “The sales taxes that we collect are quite broad and from an equity standpoint, the sales taxes that we have now are most impactful on those who have the least amount of money or the least resources.” 

Knox brought forth a proposal in his second year on the assembly that looked at raising the property tax and removing sales tax on essential items like groceries and heating fuel. Knox says that would lessen the burden on those who have less. The ordinance didn’t pass at  the time, but Knox says he’d like to take another look at that, moving forward. 

“The dialogue was interesting and there was some room for movement I think,” he says. “Maybe revisiting that in a different way, we may be able to make some changes there.” 

 During his tenure, he’s most proud of his effort to get a non-discrimination clause adopted into city code, a resolution he co-sponsored with former assembly member Bob Potrzuski.

Looking ahead, Knox says he’s concerned with budget challenges the municipality and the state face. And he’s interested in long-term projects, like development in the Granite Creek area.

“There’s some really interesting possibilities there, from a housing standpoint, from an economic development standpoint. I think we have something there that really could benefit Sitka, although I will say too that we need to do it very carefully,” he says. “It’s not something that’s going to be easily, just, slapped down, roads thrown in, that kind of stuff. We really do need to go forward very, very thoughtfully with how that gets planned out.” 

The filing period to run as a candidate in the 2019 municipal election closes Friday, August 2 at 5 p.m.  KCAW will provide continuous coverage of the 2019 municipal election, and will host several candidate forums, leading up to the election on October 1.