How many years have you lived in Sitka and in Alaska? Nearly 7 decades
Family: Spouse is Connor Nelson, 2 children, 4 grandchildren, 7 siblings and 25 nieces and nephews.
Community involvement, past and present:
Member of Emblem Club, Women of the Moose, Sons of Norway, Pioneers of Alaska, ANS
Previous government or other relevant experience:
Yes mid to late 90s assembly and mayor, 2004 assembly and 2018 assembly y
Have you previously run for public office? When and what office?
Assembly 1998-2000, 2004-2005, 2018-2021; Mayor 2000-2002
Why are you running for a seat on the Sitka Assembly this year?
Sitka has been my home and I care deeply about the direction our community is heading. The purpose of public hearings is to listen to different viewpoints and then make unbiased decisions based on what is good for everybody and not just an elite few. Too many times I’ve attended meetings and noticed that the minds of our elected officials are already made (it’s obvious when 3 people sponsor an ordinance that it will pass). The affordability of living here is forever increasing and we need to have people representing us that don’t just “rubber-stamp” every idea that comes down the pike.
What are your top two priorities if elected?
Ballot Prop 1:
Do you support Ballot Prop 1, which would establish a consumer sales tax on cannabis and cannabis products, and would direct that money to the Sitka School District’s Student Activities Fund? Why or why not?
I support that it is on the ballot. I’m not sure that I agree with the concept or equity and am undecided how I will vote.
If the cannabis measure does not pass, are there next steps the assembly should take to bolster funding for student activities?
Ballot Prop 2:
Do you support Ballot Prop 2, which would withdraw up to $8.1 million in proceeds from the sale of the Sitka Community Hospital building from Sitka’s Permanent Fund, to pay for a marine haulout? Why or why not?
I support it being on the ballot.
If the measure to fund the haulout is not approved by the voters, what steps– if any– should the assembly take to get a haulout built in Sitka?
This issue has been ongoing for several years and no solution has been found. It may take longer than most are hoping, however the city needs to let private sector businesses take the lead.
STRs and Housing:
Earlier this year, the Sitka Assembly rejected a measure that would have put a moratorium on new short-term rental permits for one year. Do you support that decision? Why or why not? What should the assembly do to address housing shortages and affordability in Sitka?
I support that they rejected it because property owners need flexibility to meet building costs or mortgage payments and we are having too many restrictions put on us.
Perhaps the city could put a moratorium on big business buying every piece of property that comes onto the market?
Energy and Infrastructure:
Sitka is carrying roughly $118 million in debt for the Blue Lake Dam expansion. But at the current rate of growth, including the expansion of Mt. Edgecumbe Medical Center on Japonski Island, its estimated that the city could reach the limit of its hydroelectric capacity in 10 years. What steps should the assembly take to make sure Sitka has sufficient energy infrastructure, while managing the city’s debt?
Perhaps we should sell the electrical business.
This year brought an unprecedented number of cruise passengers to Sitka. In anticipation of the record-breaking year, the assembly directed the planning commission to draft a short-term tourism plan months before the first ships docked this summer. Some of the most visible responses from the city include the closure of Lincoln Street on high traffic days, and installation of temporary bathrooms (View the full plan here). What steps should the assembly take next to address the influx of tourism into the future?
Hire traffic controllers and make Lincoln Street one-way during tourest season. Work with AKDOT to make a left turn light at Harbor Drive and Lincoln (traffic is always balled-up for that one person that wants to turn left).
Is there an issue or proposal you want to bring to the table that the assembly hasn’t yet considered?
The 3 minute time limit on speaking that is imposed on the public should also be adhered to by elected officials and city staff.