I came to Unalaska “just for the summer” in 1980, and ended up meeting my husband Bob, building a home, and raising Emma and Rex here instead. I worked for Pan Alaska (now Alyeska) and Unisea for the first eight years and then moved to vessel logistics with Marine Management at OSI, and finally to Samson Tug and Barge, my employer for the past 22 years. Starting in 1990, I regularly attended and participated in the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council meetings because of our major dependence on healthy fisheries and responsible fisheries policy making. There were huge changes to Unalaska during these years and I decided to run for City Council in 1994 to be a member of the local governance team as the community planned for its future. Unalaska really did an amazing job building schools, docks, PCR, the Library, City Hall, paving roads and bringing water and sewer to the valley so homes and businesses could be built. I am proud of the accomplishments of this community and am proud to have played a role as a Council member for those ten years.
In 2004 I was appointed by the Council as Mayor and eight months later ran for the office for the first time. I have served as your Mayor since then, and made the shift from decision maker to formal City representative and Chair of the Council with pleasure. My focus moved from City policy to: what could I do for the community that the City can’t? I pulled Alaska Airlines to the table to create a Community Access Seat so that seats were available to members of the community during our heavy travel seasons. I formed a team of Alaska Marine Pilots, local tug operators, CG, and ADEC staff to design and implement an Emergency Towing System after the Selendang Ayu disaster and the near disaster of the Salica Frigo. I convinced Shell Oil to give the City three of their massive Arctic anchors to start the Emergency Mooring Buoy, and then worked for over a year getting 90% of the $10 Million dollar project donated. I did this because we are at the mercy of the weather to receive any help during a vessel grounding and oil spill and it was very important to me to protect our near-shore waters as much as possible.
My goal is to provide opportunity for economic growth for residents and economic stability for businesses. I also want to provide a high quality of life to the community, and protect its financial future. I believe that policy makers should use fact and reason, always analyzing options before choosing, and I believe in providing respectful, productive, open Council meetings that earn the trust of the public.
Unalaska has so much going for it, and we will be actively involved as the opening of the Arctic moves ahead. We need to keep an eye on the horizon, but never forget where we came from and why we are such a special and unique community.