People who have been watching the Homer City Council for the past five years might have seen a shift in the council’s make-up. With the election of Catriona Reynolds in 2014 and Beauregard Burgess in 2012, the council has changed from middle-aged and senior members to people under 50, some with children still in school. Council candidate Joni Wise, 35, a mother of five children, seeks to continue that trend.
The third person to file for the election, Wise said she ran after complaining about proposed changes to the Homer beach policy. Some of the ideas would be too restrictive, she said.
“I tell my kids all the time: Don’t whine about things. Fix it. I’m a decisive person,” Wise said.
Wise has lived in Homer all her adult life, but was born in Sylvania, Ohio. Her step-father, Flip Laframboise, moved the family to, Davie, Fla., near Miami, when Wise was 9. Laframboise grew up in Anchorage, and had always wanted to move to Homer, so in 1994 the family came up here. Wise met her husband, Marty Wise, at Homer High School, where she graduated in 1988.
“I literally saw him the first time ever and I was like, I’m going to marry that guy,” she said.
She did, in 2000. Marty Wise comes from a longtime Homer family descended from Frank “Papaw” and Cora Wise, who came here in 1954. Marty’s father, Rick Wise, is pastor of Glacierview Baptist Church. Joni — pronounced “Joan-ee” — works as a bookkeeper for Marty Wise Electrical, her husband’s company, but mainly is a homemaker. Marty Wise also fishes commercially in Prince William Sound. Together they have five children, Brianna, 13, Devon, 11, Camden, 9, Layci, 8, and Andrea, 4. The Wises have been foster parents and adopted the younger two children.
Joni Wise also has worked at the fuel dock and as a loan processor for First National Bank Alaska. She has been working on a degree in criminal justice through an online education program with Liberty University, with two semesters to go. She’s thinking about being a guardian ad litem, a person who looks out for the interests of children in court cases.
“I want to be that person. I want to be that advocate,” she said.
Raising her children occupies most of her time, though. “That’s the most important thing in this world,” Wise said. “I don’t want to leave it to anyone else.”
Wise said she’s also running to see a more diverse city council.
“I want to see more of an evened-out council,” she said. “I believe you need all of the views.”
Of core services, Wise sees police, fire and emergency medical services as foremost. Economic growth also is important.
“I think this town needs to see a shot of that here. We’re seeing these million-dollar buildings with no real growth. It’s going to push families out,” Wise said.
A member of the Glacierview Baptist Church’s pastoral search committee, Wise said she’s seen that first hand with finding candidates for associate pastor.
“They look at house prices, food, taxes and medical. They can’t make it,” she said of potential candidates.
Wise said she sees her role on the council as simple: to listen.
“Listen to what the people want, and all the people, not just the factions, and see (Homer) grow in an organic way, a natural way,” she said. “I feel like the Homer City Council should be protecting those things that make it unique and also protecting those things to make it better.”
Though new to politics, Wise said she thinks she’s qualified.
“I can do my homework. I love reading. I love talking to people. I feel like I can do a good job,” she said. “You don’t need a degree for this. I love Homer. I want to see it better.”