(Photo courtesy of Shannon Haugland/Sitka Sentinel)

Last month, the Sitka Assembly appointed Tim Pike to fill a vacant seat for the next year. Pike has lived in Sitka for the last 25 years, and teaches Career and Technical Education at Sitka High School, but he doesn’t consider himself the “education candidate” on the assembly –- beyond the classroom, he says he’s a citizen interested in economic growth. He spoke with KCAW’s Katherine Rose about his decision to apply for the seat:

KCAW: You were one of four folks to put your name to apply for the vacant assembly seat. Why did you decide to apply for that seat?

PIKE: Well, it’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while. I’ve been watching the assembly and realizing all the hard work that goes into that. And when the seat came open, I have a great deal of respect for Dave Miller, and I felt like it was an opportunity to see if I could carry on a little bit of where he was going, and go forward with that. So that was basically the thinking behind getting into the seat, so to speak, was to work toward many of the things that he articulated plus some other things.

KCAW: This is a one year seat, and then there will be an election for the final year of David Miller’s term. Do you plan to run for reelection? Is it too soon to say?

PIKE: It’s very popular question I’ve been getting. But yeah, I think it’s too soon to say which way it will go at that point in time…I certainly don’t have the intention not to run, I guess. I intend, going forward, to see what that looks like after getting going a little bit. But it’s my first time doing anything like this, so I’m not sure what this will be like.

KCAW: It was your first time doing anything like this, like being on the assembly or school board? Obviously, you’re an educator. So [running for a seat on the school board] wouldn’t be a pathway for you. But you have been very involved with the local teachers organization, right?

PIKE: Yeah– I’ve been president and held different roles in that organization…I’ve run for things in the past, just not at the city-wide level.

KCAW: And can you talk a little bit about how about that experience? Do you think that’s going to help inform your role on the assembly a little bit?

PIKE: Well, I wouldn’t like to be characterized just as a strictly education person, because I mean, I’ve been in Sitka for 25 years… I view myself as a citizen at this point in time. I think there’s a lot, the assembly deals with a lot bigger things. And I think the reason we have a school board is because that’s such a specialized area of the city’s responsibility, that it needs a group to supervise that and focus on that, particularly. As an assembly member, there’s a lot more pieces to the puzzle to think about, and a lot more things to keep moving forward. And so, I wouldn’t want to be seen as just an education candidate. But my experience working in education is that it’s a people business. And working with people is what I think I have some experience with, for sure. And I look forward to applying that to helping move forward the things that the city needs to get done.

KCAW: And you talked a little bit about about Dave Miller’s legacy, but also, you know, just some of the issues that you want to focus on. You’re not just an education candidate. So what are some of those issues that have kind of drawn you to this role? What are you really interested in over the next year?

PIKE: Well, I think, like everyone else that I heard talking about the assembly over the last year or so, I think that’s the economic development of our community. Our community has transitioned away from resource extraction type of jobs, largely, into something more around the tourism business. But there’s a lot more to it than that, too. It’s not just strictly tourism, there’s a lot of other industries, we do here– healthcare and government, and things like that. So I think it’s a much more balanced approach. I think I bring to the table experience with our community, the ability to work with people and, you know, an interest in other things. And also, of course, with all the developments out there at GPIP that are going to be part of, building a marine Services Center– I think those are going to be vital to the future our community, and I’d like to be part of that.

Editor’s Note: This transcript has been edited slightly for length and clarity.