Pelican’s harbor in 2019 (Photo provided by Heather Bauscher).

Jessica Adams is a busy woman. 

In addition to her regular duties as Pelican City Treasurer in the roughly 90 person town, she’s helping coordinate the town’s response to COVID-19, navigating spending CARES Act funding, and administering the town’s coronavirus tests. She’s also a mom and serves on the local school board.

And she was recently appointed to serve with 15 other Alaskans on the state’s Emergency Response Commission.

“I figured I would give it a shot and see if I had a chance,” Adams said. “I’ve never done any boards and commissions before, so I wasn’t sure if I’d have a shot at getting on it, but lo and behold I did.”

Gov. Mike Dunleavy appointed 51 Alaskans to fill seats on the 137 active state boards and commissions at the end of December. Among those chosen was Adams, who has a background in emergency medicine and fire fighting. She’s intimately familiar with the challenges of responding to emergencies in rural communities like Pelican.

“Getting medevacs out here, you know, that’s the kind of thing. Getting the training that we need out here is kind of an issue because we are so remote, it’s hard to get people into communities like ours,” she said. “There’s definitely some speed bumps and challenges.”

Pelican’s Jessica Adams is a newly appointed member of the state’s Emergency Response Commission (Photo provided by Jessica Adams).

She said she hopes to serve as a relatable representative for people in rural communities around the region.

“I’ve always been a firm believer that people need to have more of a voice, and I feel like that is a big thing out here, especially in the rural communities,” she said. “There needs to be a voice for people in the communities way out here.”

Adams’ 3-year term lasts until 2023. A list of vacancies and applications for a board appointment, can be found on the state’s Boards and Commissions website.

Erin McKinstry is a Report for America corps member.