Steven Eisenbeisz will likely serve a second term as Sitka’s mayor. While the election results aren’t final, with around two-thirds of the votes tallied, Eisenbeisz has a significant lead over former assembly member and mayor Valorie Nelson and assembly member Kevin Mosher. He spoke with KCAW’s Katherine Rose on Wednesday (10-6-22):
KCAW: Well, the results came in on Tuesday night, and by a pretty good margin, I think safe to say you’re likely looking at two more years as Sitka’s mayor. How do you feel about that?
Eisenbeisz: I’m super excited to get back to work. I’m also super excited to see a large margin there, because that’s a large vote in favor of not only myself, but the current assembly and the current city administration as well. It’s a vote of confidence for all of those in moving forward in the same direction, which which gives me relief, because I know that a large percentage of the population supports that direction. And so it gives us confidence to keep moving forward.
KCAW: You mentioned in our forum back in September that you’d heard from a number of Sitka voters who said they weren’t sure who to vote for for mayor, because they wanted both you and Kevin Mosher, assembly member Kevin Mosher who was also running, to remain on the assembly. It sounds like those constituents are going to get what they wanted, because Kevin Moser has two more years left in this term.
Eisenbeisz: Yes, correct. And we’ve already talked, we’ve already started formulating ways to work together for the better the community. And I’m, I’m actually excited for our strength going forward, because we each have a distinct skill set. And I think we’re each going to be able to utilize them to the best of our abilities in the next couple of years.
KCAW: The assembly also is going to be contending with a very clear directive from voters on these ballot propositions. 80% on Prop 2 to build a haulout at the Gary Paxton Industrial Park. That’s a pretty sizable margin. So I imagine that Prop 2 will be one of your biggest projects over your next two years as mayor.
Eisenbeisz: Yes, if we’re unable to make any forward progress on the haulout, I think I will be run out of town. So I very clearly see the voters intent there, and we will be charging forward. I’m most excited to use this $8 million as, kind of, leverage to get other monies involved, as well. I do know of some other sources out there that were watching this election closely. And, hopefully, they see now that we have a large skin in the game…that outside investment is going to want to jump in on this project as well. So I think right now we’re in the infancy stages. And this $8 million I think is only the beginning.
KCAW: Is there anything else weighing heavily on your mind as you gear up for the next two years?
Eisenbeisz: The one personally, and I don’t have any answers for it right now, it is a little bit closer to home. And I’m more aware of because I do have a child, but I think a lot of our workforce right now in Sitka is out of work due to the lack of childcare in town. So if the assembly can come up with some ways to help out the existing daycares, and perhaps get some more online, I think that’s going to help incredibly with our workforce next summer, especially with an estimated additional 200,000 people are so coming into town. We’ve got to get our workforce, back because housing is an issue so we can’t necessarily bring workforce in. But let’s utilize the people we already have in town here.
KCAW- Anything else you’d like to add before we sign off here:
Eisenbeisz: No, just just humbled and honored. I think that’s what what most people say, but this is it’s true. It’s genuine. I appreciate the support from the municipality, from the town, and I’m gonna continue doing my best to make sure that these next couple years were worth your vote.