When I was in graduate school in Fairbanks I was a “Big Sister” through Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS). My “Little Brother” was autistic, and one of three kids with a hard working single mom. She sought out BBBS to allow her kids more positive adults in their lives, and more strong individual connections in the community. I loved my Little, and sorely missed him when I moved to Homer several years later. I quickly sought out Homer”s BBBS and was matched with a vibrant and energetic six year old living in an incredibly chaotic and unstable situation.
Together we were welcomed into the community for art classes with Homer Council on the Arts and Microbells “hockey” with the Homer Hockey Association. I had an opportunity to be a “Nutcracker parent”, with my little mouse from a family that never would have had the time necessary to participate in such a huge and involved community production. The Homer Library provided a bright and safe place to go on rainy days, and the Pratt Museum taught us how to feed sea anemones in the middle of winter. Since then my Little was adopted by extended family in the Central Peninsula and I’ve had two children of my own.
I still miss my Little, and my experience taught me: 1. Homer is economically diverse, and that’s easy to overlook. We have a lot of wealth here, but we also have a lot of families struggling to get by. 2. Homer has amazing opportunities for physical and mental health care and community engagement. 3. Raising children in a strong community helps grow strong, hardworking, and resilient adults and gives parents more capacity.
Homer is an amazing community that also enjoys strong economic engines. We have engaged and pro-active citizens that are running businesses to meet the needs of residents and tourists alike. Our marine industries are thriving, not only in fishing but in welding, shipbuilding, repair, and numerous other support sectors. Our nursing program at the college allows for a strong partnership with the hospital and quality job opportunities for those in the healthcare field. We have folks manufacturing craft beers and wines, and over a third of peony farms in Alaska are in the Homer-area.
While I can wax poetic about how wonderful Homer is, we do not exist in a vacuum. There is no doubt the State of Alaska is facing tough economic questions, and those directly impact us — both as individuals and as a municipality. As a small business owner and member of the Homer Economic Development Commission, I believe that a diverse economy is essential to growth and stability. The work of our Council is to help ensure lasting infrastructure and services that provide a framework for our community — the people and businesses that make Homer home.
I believe it’s possible to have a healthy, supportive local government run by us — community volunteers, our neighbors. I believe in a balance of government services that meet the needs of all city residents, that support local businesses, and that maintain long-term fiscal stability. I’m excited for the opportunity to serve Homer with a huge wealth of experience, an open mind, and a strong work ethic.
Since 2014 I’ve facilitated a task force of local, state, federal, and private industry representatives working to better prevent and manage derelict vessels around Alaska. It’s creative problem solving at it’s best – there are many opinions, no money, and a huge and moving problem over a massive geographic area. It’s also the kind of thing that Council decisions are made of – putting ego aside, coming together to listen, ask tough questions, and take the time to understand the context and background of the issues while always keeping focus on the problem or question at hand.
I have a confession — I won’t be in town on Election Day. I’ll vote early, and on October 1st I’ll fly to Petersburg, AK for the start of the Alaska Association of Harbormasters and Port Administrators annual conference; as their only paid staff it’s one of the requirements of my job. I’m disappointed to not be home for the election, but my vast experience makes me the strongest candidate for Homer’s City Council — I will appreciate your vote on October 3.
We are a small town, and all of your voices matter. I promise that I will work hard, listen carefully, think critically, communicate openly and transparently, to help make sound fiscal and policy decisions with all Homer residents in mind.