While Storm Hansen-Cavasos would be a newcomer to the Homer City Council should she be elected, she’s no newcomer to Homer.
Hansen-Cavasos was born in Anchorage but raised in Homer and is a third-generation Alaskan. The Old Inlet Bookstore building is the former house of Hansen-Cavasos’ father.
“(It) was brought over from Fox River, I believe,” she said.
Rogers Loop was homesteaded by her aunt and uncle.
“These are like my roots, this is where I’m from,” Hansen-Cavasos said. “My people are from here. So I feel invested in the community.”
Now a single mother, Hansen-Cavasos has six children, three who she became legal guardian for through foster care. She is active in the youth wrestling community, serving as president of the Popeye Wrestling Club. She is also the women’s director for Alaska USA Wrestling.
She works for Homer Medical Center in medical records, where she largely is responsible for coordinating travel for patients.
“We obviously have a sense of community here,” Hansen-Cavasos said when asked her favorite thing about Homer. “It’s getting a little more spread out the longer I’m here. There’s more people I don’t know because there’s new people.”
Hansen-Cavasos said she likes that Homer is a place where both she and her children have grown up. They’ll be graduating from the same schools she did.
“I’ve left just a very, very few times, and not for very long at all, but when I come home I’m like, ‘oh, it’s home,’” she said.
Though she doesn’t have experience at the city level yet, Hansen-Cavasos said her other life experiences have prepared her to be a working member of the council, especially her time with Popeye Wrestling and Alaska USA Wrestling.
“We obviously have a board, and I know how to work together with different types of personalities,” she said. “Strong and soft and gentle and … you know, the vibrant personalities, and you’ve got to all get along.”
Hansen-Cavasos has been at her job for more than 18 years.
“I help coordinate travel for patients who are on Medicaid and there’s a lot of personalities,” she said. “And they’re either stressed or worried because they’re really sick and they need help, or it’s just to get their kid to an appointment. And so I’ve learned over the years the skill set to work with people.”
Hansen-Cavasos said her job and her role as a mother have taught her how to be good at just sitting and listening.
“It’s hard to do,” she said. “You want to just jump in and give your opinions right off the bat, but it’s so much easier and better if you can sit back and breathe, and listen to everybody’s view and then add your own, and say let’s talk about this.”
She said she would prefer to set aside her personal beliefs when working out city issues with other council members.
“Because maybe my personal beliefs aren’t what’s best for the community as a whole, so I would rather go into it thinking about versus what my own personal goal or opinion would be,” she said.
Things that are important to Hansen-Cavasos and that she would focus on if elected are opportunities for children and youth, fighting addiction and supporting the Homer port and harbor as a source of revenue for the city.
“Port and harbor is huge for me, even though I need to learn so much more about it,” she said. “I have got calls (out) to friends and community members to talk with them about the issues at hand.”
She described commercial fishing in Kachemak Bay as a formative part of growing up in Homer and something that she wants to protect and preserve for future generations.
“When I was a kid, that was a way of life,” Hansen-Cavasos said. “My dad worked two weeks on, two weeks off for the (North) Slope. … We would go out in the bay and fish and spend our whole weekend out there, and drop our shrimp pots and crab pots and fish.”
When it comes to providing for local youth, Hansen-Cavasos recalled the time when Homer had its own Boys and Girls Club. She said it was hard when that option went away, and said she’d bring her own experience as a single mom with children spanning several age groups to the table as a council member when it comes to making the community welcoming to families.
“It’s difficult,” she said. “And there’s a lot of those (single parent homes) out there. I know that from my job.”
She also wants to focus on making Homer accessible and sustainable for the elderly to live in.
Hansen-Cavasos said that although the decision to run in this election was not planned in advance, she’s always known she would eventually step up to serve her community in a larger way. Now’s the time, she said.
She said she thinks it’s important for voters in local elections to have choices, and that bringing new candidate and voices to the table also brings fresh outlooks and ideas.
Reach Megan Pacer at firstname.lastname@example.org.