By Caroleine James
Wrangell Sentinel 

Davies wants to encourage more boaters to home base in Wrangell

 

September 28, 2022 | View PDF

Caroleine James/Wrangell Sentinel

Winston Davies is running for his first term on the port commission.

Winston Davies is running for an uncontested three-year term on the port commission to give back to his community and support Wrangell's commercial fishing industry. He has no previous experience in public office, but when he heard KSTK's plea for candidates to fill the empty port commission seats, he decided to "step up to the plate."

Davies is a teacher during the school year and a commercial fisherman in the summer. He has taught a variety of subjects in his 18 years in education, including math, science, woodshop, and "Alaska Skills," a program of his own design that familiarizes students with hunting safety, knot tying and other outdoor essentials.

"We've got a lot of talent down there," Davies said of The Marine Service Center yard. He wants to support Wrangell's skilled marine service workers, who he believes are essential to keeping families on the island and attracting business from around Southeast, particularly full-time yachters. Many yachters call Wrangell their "home base" because of its high quality of service, Davies said, and he believes the borough will have to work hard to maintain its relationships with yachters as the cost of goods on the island rises.

Since Petersburg and Sitka are both considering investing in travel lifts, Wrangell will need to prepare a strategic plan to compete for boats that "might have other options in the future," explained Davies. He would hate to see any of the workers who comprise the backbone of the marine service yard move their operations elsewhere. "If you're not a fisherman or you don't own a big boat, you don't know what's going on down in that yard. There's a lot going on down there."

Davies also wants to support young gillnet fishers who have families or who are looking to put down roots. "Commercial fishing is something that's portable," he said. "You can be a commercial fisher in any community. We need to figure out how to keep those families here and attract more."

While harbor maintenance is an ongoing concern, Davies wants to ensure that the port commission also supports its facilities at Meyers Chuck, which are owned by the borough despite being geographically removed. "We kind of absorbed the Meyers Chuck harbor facility," he said. "We need to figure out how we can get them some new infrastructure down there, because they're our responsibility."

Davies will occupy the seat that commissioner Franklin Roppel is about to vacate.

 

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