Assembly, school board, port commission candidacy filing to open

At the upcoming municipal election on Oct. 3, the community will head to the polls to share its vision for Wrangell’s future. But before that can happen, engaged community members need to declare their intention to run for elected office.

Starting on Tuesday, Aug. 1, eligible candidates will be able to submit their candidacy for one of four available seats.

Two three-year seats on the borough assembly will be on the ballot: Anne Morrison and Ryan Howe’s terms end this fall. These elected volunteer positions help guide the direction that the borough government takes by voting on ordinances and resolutions, listening to the will of the public and representing the community’s interests to municipal officials.

In the coming years, major decisions about developing the Alder Top Village (Keishangita.’aan) subdivision, repairing or rebuilding the Public Safety Building and selling the former hospital property will come before the assembly, so the winning candidates will have opportunities to shape the town’s development.

Assembly members are “an integral part of local government,” said Borough Clerk Kim Lane. “They are the decision-makers for contracts and projects, any kind of amendments. Without them, we can’t function.”

“If you have a voice in the community, have it on the assembly,” she continued. “That’s where it counts.”

Assembly candidates must be registered voters in the borough, with at least one year of residency.

On the school board, the three-year seat held by Esther Aaltséen Reese will be on the ballot. School board members make decisions about curriculum, staffing and the district’s budget. They also hold school officials accountable to the policies and goals of the district.

School board members must be registered voters to serve.

Gary Morrison’s three-year term on the port commission is coming to an end. “Although they are an elected body, they are more of an advisory board,” Lane said of the commission. “The ones that are typically on the port commission, they’re either in the industry or they frequent the harbor often.” The commission weighs in on tidelands leases or purchases, and any changes in harbor fees or harbor-related municipal code.

Port commission members also must be registered voters, at least 21 years old.

To file for any of the seats, stop by City Hall to pick up a packet between Aug. 1 and Aug. 31. Candidates must submit a declaration of candidacy and get signatures from 10 qualified voters to be eligible to run.

As borough clerk, Lane is well-versed in the workings of municipal government and is able to act as a resource for any assembly, school board or port commission hopeful who may have questions about the filing process or the rules and responsibilities of elected positions. She is happy to walk candidates through the open meetings laws and parliamentary responsibilities that they would be taking on if elected.

“My job is to help the assembly and guide them when needed,” she said. “I’m here to offer assistance. I really feel like if you can vote, you can run.”

She hopes to see a full ballot at the Oct. 3 municipal election, since it would provide community members with the most robust set of choices for the management of their town and its schools and harbors.

“I appreciate anybody who steps up and serves,” said Lane. “My hat is off to them.”


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