Incumbent Homer City Council member Shelly Erickson seeks to build on her accomplishments and be elected again.
A lifelong and third-generation Homer resident, Erickson first ran in 2016 and easily won election along with Tom Stroozas.
“If I make it back on, fine,” Erickson said. “If I don’t, fine.”
Now 60, with her husband Jeff she owns and runs four businesses: HomeRun Oil, the ShortStop Tesoro gas station, a KOA Campground next to ShortStop at the top of Baycest Hill, and Homer Tours. Her companies give her knowledge of the service and tourist industries in Homer, she said. Her business knowledge helps her understand the finances of the city, particularly as the city moves to a 2-year budget cycle.
“It is so overwhelming,” she said. “I know basic accounting pretty well. … I have a knowledge I can bring to the table.”
Erickson has three grown children, Jonathan, Jessie and Olivia, and four grandchildren. The daughter of Joanne and the late Brantley Edens, Erickson comes from pioneer stock who grew up in a Homer where children like her dad skied to school.
With a subtle, sometimes self-deprecating humor, Erickson said she doesn’t consider herself an extrovert.
“I’m not the showy one out there, but I’ve done a good job,” she said.
Erickson considers her strength to be that she’s a behind-the-scenes person.
“I am who I am,” she said. “I’m not the flashy, out in front person.”
One reason Erickson wants to be re-elected is to finish some projects she and other council members got started, like seeing the new Homer Police station finished. That project came about through compromises, mostly about financing, and without state grant support.
Another project she’d like to see done is settling what to do with the Homer Educational and Recreational Complex, or HERC building.
“The HERC is the elephant in the room,” Erickson said. “We’ve been having conversations since 2008.”
Making the 2-year budget cycle work also is important, she said.
“We have to look at this objectively, not just take someone’s word for it,” Erickson said.
Erickson also wants to see through a rewrite of Title 14, the city’s public services code, and Title 17, the code on improvement districts.
“We need to look ahead,” she said. “It’s important as we’re going through the rewrite we’re looking at it as a whole…. We need to look at what we’re doing well and how to do we change it to make it better?”
Erickson is part of a group on the council with Heath Smith and Tom Stroozas that often tends to vote in opposition to the other three, Donna Aderhold, Rachel Lord and Caroline Venuti — but that doesn’t meant the council always will be stalled in 3-3 tie votes where Mayor Ken Castner has said he won’t vote to break a tie.
“We have a nice balance right now to still get some things done,” Erickson said. “We have a lot of multiple viewpoints.”
Erickson has backed off on votes that did or could lead to controversy. On what some called an inclusivity and others called a sanctuary city resolution, Erickson didn’t sponsor it and voted against it. When former Mayor Bryan Zak was going to make a proclamation in support of Homer Pride Week, an event supporting LGQBT rights, Erickson, Smith and Stroozas didn’t attend that council meeting, canceling it for lack of a quorum. They did so to avoid what they thought could be another dividing issue.
“Our job isn’t social engineering,” Erickson said. “Our job is to keep the city running as a body.”
A musician, Erickson plays piano and organ at Church on the Rock and also in local musicals.
“Because it’s fun. It’s funny,” she said of music. “With all the stuff that goes on in Homer, it’s good to have humor.”
Erickson also wants to broaden the city’s perspective to include Homerites who live in the 99603 zip code but not in the city itself.
“Just because you live outside the city limits, (doesn’t mean) it doesn’t affect you,” she said of city decisions.
Reach Michael Armstrong at firstname.lastname@example.org.