Rachel Lord. (Photo courtesy Rachel Lord)

Rachel Lord. (Photo courtesy Rachel Lord)

Candidate Q&A: Rachel Lord

Current Homer City Council member Rachel Lord is looking to continue her work on at the city level, and is running to retain her seat in the upcoming Oct. 6 election.

Lord has served on the city council since 2017. If reelected, it would be her second term.

Originally from Maine, Lord moved to Alaska in 2005 to pursue a masters degree in wildlife biology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and has lived in Homer since 2008. She moved to Homer to work the International Pacific Halibut Commission, and has also worked for Cook Inletkeeper. As part of her work at Cook Inletkeeper, Lord spearheaded development of the Alaska Clean Harbors program, as well as the Alaska Food Hub.

Lord started her family business Alaska Stems in 2012, a cut flower farm and floristry design business. She also works for the Alaska Association of Harbormasters and Port Administrators.

She has served on the Homer Farmers Market Board of Directors and the Kachemak Heritage Land Trust Board of Directors.

Question: What made you decide to run for Homer City Council again?

Answer: I am a business owner and a parent. My husband was born and raised in Homer, and we are raising our two daughters here. I am running for a second term on council for similar reasons as before — I love this town, and I strongly believe in citizen engagement in running our local government. I have dedicated three years to learning the ins and outs of how the city works and council’s role. A second term has immense value in capitalizing on that learning to serve the community with positive, proactive leadership to support our citizens. I believe the city should provide a stable, predictable base of core services upon which all of our families and businesses can thrive, with fiscal responsibility and full transparency – making this happen is no small task, and it’s exciting and challenging.

Q: Other than the issues caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, what do you see as the three biggest issues facing the city currently?

A: Three top issues I see for the city in the coming year include: financial and systems planning for our water and sewer systems, increased development within the city and needs for improved stormwater management/sidewalks/transportation planning, and our large vessel harbor expansion project.

Q: What could Homer be doing better in terms of handling and mitigating the COVID-19 pandemic (if anything)?

A: I am so proud of the work the city staff have done during this pandemic. While city staff have been busy navigating the day-to-day emergency response and communications, on council we have been charting courses forward for CARES Act funds to help the community and understanding the roles and responsibilities of the city versus the state and other players in this kind of response. I am very proud of the work that I did alongside council member Donna Aderhold drafting policies for our household, nonprofit, childcare, and social services economic relief grant programs. I worked closely with the mayor on developing the small business grant program. If reelected, I will continue to work to ensure these funds are moved into the community with maximum possible value, while also making sure the city uses the funds appropriately and that we aren’t liable for misused funds down the line.

Q: What will be the biggest priority/priorities heading into the city’s next budget cycle?

A: We are currently in the middle of our first two-year budget cycle for the City of Homer. A major priority this year will be looking at actual revenues versus our anticipated revenues in the Fiscal Year 2020-21 budget and making adjustments as needed. Early on in the pandemic, I worked with council member Heath Smith to pass a resolution directing staff to limit operational spending, and stop any unnecessary capital spending until we had a better picture of our potential revenue losses in the second and third quarters.

One of my top priorities is to continue working to establish financial policies surrounding our reserve funds in the Utility Fund, the General Fund, and the harbor. I’m excited to continue working on reasonable and rational financial policies to define sideboards that guide budgeting and rate setting in ways that benefit the citizens of Homer into the future.

Q: What skills do you bring to the table that would make you an effective council member?

A: I’m a fast reader. Which, while true, is a bit of a joke because there is so much more needed for being an effective member of the council. Nevertheless, I am dedicated to being very well prepared for each and every meeting we have. Our packet for the Sept. 14 regular meeting, was 633 pages long — and that doesn’t include the worksession packet. Being able to digest that much information with a critical mind throughout the year is a big challenge, and I have shown I am capable of meeting it head-on. I am open minded and curious. The city council is a non-partisan political body — I don’t come to the table with any agenda and I’m able to hear views and opinions I might not have thought of or share personally to consider them along with others for the long-term best interest of the city. Finally, I enjoy minute details, and I am committed to an open and transparent public process.

Q: What is your favorite book and why?

A: I’ve never had a single favorite book. I just finished reading “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel. It was published in 2015, and was somewhat difficult to read for its post-pandemic dystopia that hit just a little close to home in 2020. The storytelling was excellent, however, with a vision of rebirth from destruction and an inevitable exposure to life’s vulnerabilities that kept me up reading way too late at night.

More in News

U.S. Rep. Don Young, left, and Alyse Galvin square off in a debate for the sole Alaska house seat Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020, in Anchorage, Alaska. The debate between the candidates for Alaska’s sole seat in Congress became contentious Thursday, with challenger Galvin saying she’s tired of Young misrepresenting her position on issues. (Jeff Chen / Pool Photo)
Galvin, Young accuse each of other of lying during debate

The debate between became contentious Thursday

Al Gross, right, an independent in Alaska’s U.S. Senate race, holds a document during a debate with Republican U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan last Friday, in Anchorage. Sullivan participated remotely, as the Senate prepares to vote on President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee in Washington. (Jeff Chen / Alaska Public Media)
Sullivan, Gross trade barbs in broadcast debate

The race has drawn national attention as the parties vie for control of the Senate.

Eve Dickman hands out candy at the home of Sean and Sandra Perry for Halloween on Oct. 31, 2019, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Halloween events on deck

Where to look for tricks and treats in the Homer area this year

Gov. Mike Dunleavy addresses the public during a virtual town hall on Sept. 15, 2020 in Alaska. (Photo courtesy Austin McDaniel, Office of the Governor)
State stocks up on supplies to fight coronavirus

Governor says decision on whether emergency declaration will expire has not been made

Members of the Homer High School Drama, Debate and Forensics team appear together on Zoom in this undated screenshot. (Image courtesy Marjorie Dunn)
Drama, Debate and Forensics team heads into the virtual world

When southern Kenai Peninsula schools entered the high-risk category for community spread… Continue reading

Homer News file photo
Homer High School.
Susan B. English School in Seldovia went remote this week

On Tuesday, Susan B. English School in Seldovia moved into the high-risk… Continue reading

Seawatch: Alaska Supreme Court hears challenge to fish tax
Seawatch: Alaska Supreme Court hears challenge to fish tax

If fish landing tax is overturned, ports could lose millions

Jason Davis, owner of Sweetgale Meadworks and Cider House, pours a drink for a patron on Oct. 20, 2020 at the new business on Main Street in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)
Mead flows in Homer once more

Sweetgale Meadworks and Cider House opens on Main Street

Homer City Hall. (Homer News file photo)
City council approves additional emergency relief programs

Housing, commercial fishermen will receive financial aid

Most Read