Amy Bethune is one of eight candidates vying for two open seats on the Sitka Assembly, and she says she’s throwing her hat in the ring because she’s concerned about Sitka’s economy. (City of Sitka Photo)

Amy Bethune has lived in Alaska for 26 years, and she moved to Sitka four years ago. She has a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. Right now, she homeschools her two children. In the past, she’s worked in a variety of fields– from the visitor industry, to accounting, to the nonprofit sector, including five years as an office manager for Habitat for Humanity. 

She doesn’t have any previous experience in public office. But she’s running for an assembly seat this year because she’s worried about the local economy.

“Watching what’s happened to our country and city and state in the last month- I’m concerned about the lost jobs, small businesses that have been shut down, and decreasing tourism traffic for us here. Just grieved by the division that I’ve seen in the country,” she says. “I just believe that we have far more in common than that which divides us, and I’d like to help contribute to that conversation.” 

As an assembly member, she says she wants to support small businesses and job opportunities for Sitkans, and is in favor of the city’s current effort to build a local marine haulout.

“One of the things I think we can do is help keep taxes low, help keep costs stable,” she says. “And help increase income opportunities and jobs for families, so they can stay.” 

Though she’s concerned about economic stagnation in the wake of a pandemic, she thinks Sitka is doing well in its COVID-19 response, with many recoveries and a low hospitalization rate. And she thinks the assembly has passed a strong CARES Act budget to provide some community relief. But she did voice her concern when it recently considered a local mask requirement. 

“I am definitely pro-mask-choice,” she says. “I don’t think it should be mandated. Even though it wasn’t a mandate, based on the resolution language, it was possibly one step toward one. So I wanted to speak out.”

Bethune says she also wants to address affordable housing, support health outreach programs, and keep taxes low, though she knows that, as far as legislation goes, the first year will be a learning curve should she be elected. 

“I am definitely in the learning process, I am welcoming of all ideas, I’m a good listener,” she says. “The main things on my list at this moment are just the economy and supporting responsible economic development.”  

Amy Bethune is one of eight candidates running for two open seats on the Sitka Assembly this fall. Richard Wein and Steven Eisenbeisz are vacating their seats.

Editor’s Note: Raven Radio will provide continuous election coverage in the weeks leading up to the municipal election on October 6. You can find information about all of the candidates running for local office on our Election Hub later this month.