Candidates in Palmer’s upcoming election were asked to answer seven identical questions in 750 words or less. The two candidates for mayor are incumbent Edna DeVries and former mayor Jim Cooper. The four candidates for the two three-year seats are Lisa Albert-Konecky, Richard Best, incumbent David Fuller and Dr. Jill Valerius. The two seats for the two-year terms are Incumbent Steve Carrington and Lee Henrikson.

MAYOR

Edna DeVries

Q: What personal accomplishment (or as part of an organization) are you most proud of during your time living in Palmer?

A: So many! Here’s a partial list. Maintained community spirit of caring for each other. City is in excellent financial position due to good stewardship of resources and fiscally conservative budgets. Safe neighborhood watch programs, excessive calls legislation, pedestrian crosswalk signs for downtown and school crossings. A total of $11 million sewer plant upgrades. Increased high paying jobs with Air Frames Alaska relocating to Palmer, the expansions of Raven Air, Triverus, and MTA’s fiber optic project. New business in Palmer and the industrial park, and a new Shell station, dog and car wash, and 3 Bears convenience store. Purchased land for a park with connection to Crevasse Moraine Trail. Shane Woods trail completion and plans to pave the path from Cope to Gulkana. Community grants supporting activities with increased shopping in our downtown area. Improvements at Palmer Airport including new heliport, additional lighting, runway and apron paving. Upgrades at Palmer Golf Course. Plastic bag regulations. New senior housing.

Q: What is it you hope to accomplish in the next two or three years on the council?

A: I plan to keep Palmer on the same successful path established during the last three years, including: assisting stakeholders of the Matanuska Maid block development, such as Alaska Pickers and Matanuska Brewing, who have advanced the development of this historic area. Adding a pathway along Airport Road and Evergreen Avenue to improve connectivity; work with DOT to provide a safe pathway along the Springer system. Continuing to correctly size government in Palmer while providing a framework for our citizens to live as they choose.

Q: What is the main obstacle for the city of Palmer in the next two or three years, and how do you plan to overcome that difficulty?

A: I don’t consider anything an obstacle, rather challenges and opportunities. We have ‘Alaska at It’s Best’ in Palmer and it will stay that way; we have community minded residents who genuinely care for each other. We will maintain an active, vibrant downtown and continue our sense of community and well-being. We will provide quality city services for reasonable and affordable fees, while continuing with a conservative agenda for the citizens of Palmer and our community.

Q: As Palmer grows, what changes do you foresee with an increase in full-time residents? Of those changes due to incremental increase in population size, what are the pros and cons of Palmer as a small town growing into a larger small town?

A: One of the ways to assist citizens in being full-time residents instead of spending time commuting to work, is to provide good paying jobs closer to their homes in Palmer. We have done that by welcoming Air Frames Alaska to Palmer, and the expansions of Triverus, and the MTA fiber optic project. Palmer will certainly grow but we will maintain our small-town atmosphere by continuing to have an accountable, affordable, and responsive government.

Q: What about your life outside City Hall will help you work inside City Hall? What assets do you bring from your past personal or political experience?

A: An important part of my life is my full-time job teaching accounting and office to students ages 16 to 24 at Alaska Job Corps. This keeps me involved with the younger generation and with emerging technology and trends. Another is my church family at King’s Chapel, which influences how I treat others, how I view life, and gives me poise and confidence to face challenges.

Assets: Networking and political connections I have obtained over the years, my reputation of being ethical and honest, many years of experience in all levels of government.

Q: What ultimately compelled you to run for the two or three-year council seat or mayor?

A: I want Palmer to continue to be ‘Alaska at It’s Best’ while I continue working on projects such as the development of Matanuska Maid block, Glenn Highway expansion, leasing and land development at the Palmer airport, and development of industrial park opportunities.

Q: How will you work with the city manager, mayor and other council members to solve the issues facing Palmer?

A: I have worked successfully with the citizens of Palmer, the city manager, clerk, attorney, and council for the past three years and six prior years on the council. By treating others with respect, listening to opposing opinions, and researching issues in order to make good, solid decisions, we can solve issues our community will face in the years ahead.

Jim Cooper

Q: What personal accomplishment (or as part of an organization) are you most proud of during your time living in Palmer?

A: I am extremely proud of the tremendous team I assembled as mayor. Together, we paved several streets, built water and sewer lines, including water line to the hospital, two wells, new sewer treatment plant, new sewer lagoon, golf course upgrade, (voted #1 in Alaska in Golf Magazine), walking/biking trails, renovated the Palmer Train Depot and built the ice arena. All done while increasing savings and keeping costs at a minimum. The list of things accomplished while Mayor is extraordinary and this experience allows me to work within City Hall and help do other great things for Palmer.

Q: What is it you hope to accomplish in the next two or three years on the council?

A: The city needs additional infrastructure improvements; streets in North Palmer need paving; more crosswalks; improved and additional sidewalks; additional walking/biking trails to name a few. Also, a need exists to bring in businesses in the new areas opened by the Glenn Highway.

Q: What is the main obstacle for the city of Palmer in the next two or three years, and how do you plan to overcome that difficulty?

A: The largest difficulty Palmer faces is how to manage the growth coming to the Palmer area: population increases, traffic increases, potential for new businesses locating here. The renovated Glenn Highway opens up opportunities for new businesses or new housing developments. Staying in front of or controlling this growth is paramount. An analogy is “the train is going to Boston, whether facing forward or backward, the train is still going to Boston”. We have to be sure we are on the train. We have to see what is coming and be proactive and not be reactive. This growth should be viewed as an opportunity to help continue to control and develop our future. Meeting with prospective developers, helps us shape what is built, ensuring nothing takes away from the downtown core area amenities. We need to make Palmer more walkable; this includes more crosswalks, more sidewalks, more trails. We also need to maintain a good relationship with the current businesses while bringing new businesses to town.

Q: As Palmer grows, what changes do you foresee with an increase in full-time residents? Of those changes due to incremental increase in population size, what are the pros and cons of Palmer as a small town growing into a larger small town?

A: Palmer is one of the most densely populated cities in the state. If population grows incrementally, there is no change in the way the city responds. If Palmer boundaries expand (i.e. annexation), the need for expanded services is required; larger police presence, increased garbage, sewer and water service. But with any incremental increase there is no degradation of the services currently supplied. The advantages of increased population is it brings new people, new ideas and potentially new businesses to town. It also brings different demographics which require more amenities.

Q: What about your life outside City Hall will help you work inside City Hall? What assets do you bring from your past personal or political experience?

A: My 26 years in the Coast Guard had me working with many different agencies, sometimes all with different agendas, but in the end decisions were made which benefited all. Learning to work with the complexities of different groups provided me the knowledge and skills to get almost anything done. My MBA provides me with knowledge to navigate complex issues. Being a small business owner in Palmer gave me the opportunity to work with a myriad of people while keeping our business successful. As previous Alaska Municipal League President, previous Council member and Mayor of Palmer, I have shown the ability to work with different people and the ability to get things done.

Q: What ultimately compelled you to run for the two or three-year council seat or mayor?

A: Palmer needs positive leadership. The Council needs a leader with a vision with goals and objectives. The current Council has neither and is divided and have not coalesced on any major issue. Because of this division, the Council is stagnant. The current leadership is satisfied with Status Quo. Status Quo is not an option! The main and one of the only objectives of the Council is to make decisions which are in the best interests of the residents. There is no place for partisan politics or ideologies. There is no plan to harness or manage the growth coming to Palmer. My experience and the fact that I provide a thoughtful, upbeat, positive and dynamic style of leadership, provides me the ability to get things done with a unified Council. I want Palmer to maintain its charm, history, and its uniqueness. To keep us “Alaska at Its Best”, we need positive leadership and I can and will provide that.

Q: How will you work with the city manager, mayor and other council members to solve the issues facing Palmer?

A: The Mayor’s goal is to get consensus of the Council to make decisions that are best for Palmer, an informed decision based on fact and not party politics or ideologies. The Council sets the vision/direction of the City and the City Manager works to accomplish that vision. Working with the manager and Council is an important part of the Mayor’s duties. As can be seen by all the accomplishments during my tenure as Mayor, I was very successful in working with both.

THREE-YEAR COUNCIL SEAT

Lisa Albert-Konecky

Q: What personal accomplishment (or as part of an organization) are you most proud of during your time living in Palmer?

A: I have been a resident and homeowner in the city of Palmer since 1984. I raised my daughters here, and have enjoyed being a part of this vibrant city that has a small town feel to it. I recently retired after working in the juvenile justice field with teens for 30 + years. I most recently was able to serve on the Mat-Su Borough Marijuana Advisory Committee for 3 years.

Q: What is it you hope to accomplish in the next two or three years on the council?

A: I will work with the city council, Mayor, and staff to keep Palmer as a safe and vibrant city, continue to improve Palmer as a great destination to visit, and support economically sound businesses in the city of Palmer.

Q: What is the main obstacle for the city of Palmer in the next two or three years, and how do you plan to overcome that difficulty?

A: Finding funds to improve city infrastructure is always a concern. I support using city funds to improve Palmer, as we see the benefits of the improvements that Palmer has done already with more sidewalks, bike paths and repaired roads.

Q: As Palmer grows, what changes do you foresee with an increase in full-time residents? Of those changes due to incremental increase in population size, what are the pros and cons of Palmer as a small town growing into a larger small town?

A: Growing Palmer can be challenging. I see a growth in small business that attract more people, and support more paved streets, bike paths, sidewalks, which benefit everyone and attract people to spend their money in Palmer. Being a resident of Palmer for 35 years has allowed me to see and benefit from the changes made within the city.

Q: What about your life outside City Hall will help you work inside City Hall? What assets do you bring from your past personal or political experience?

A: I have worked with all kinds of people in city government and outside of government. I directed a program that set a budget within city government for 23 years. I served on the MSB Marijuana Advisory Committee with members expressing many different opinions. I am a good listener, I have worked with people from all walks of life for over 30 years, and I am ready to lead as a Palmer City Council member.

Q: What ultimately compelled you to run for the two or three-year council seat or mayor?

A: I recently retired from my career and loved working with people. I want to give back to this community that I love by becoming a council member and working on important issues facing the city in the upcoming years.

Q: How will you work with the city manager, mayor and other council members to solve the issues facing Palmer?

A: Getting things done in local government means developing relationships with people and being willing to make decisions that benefit Palmer. I look forward to working with members of council, the Mayor, staff and others for the best outcomes possible for the city. I will listen and be a problem solver and am truly looking forward to working for the residents of Palmer for the next three years.

Richard Best

Q: What personal accomplishment (or as part of an organization) are you most proud of during your time living in Palmer?

A: Palmer City Council; After spending several years on the Palmer planning and zoning commission and understanding the nuances of the city government and the services that are provided to the citizenry, an opportunity arose for me to run for election the city Council. At that time, the city’s finances were in such a way that our financial future was not really secure. Being a fiscal conservative, I worked with other council members to find a balance of services and revenue.

Q: What is it you hope to accomplish in the next two or three years on the council?

A: Currently right now the status of the state as a whole is in very precarious financial position, right now we need to maintain the low tax base that we have and to provide the services at the best quality possible. Over the last 15 years Palmer has been very frugal and hasn’t gone after large pie in the sky projects to just feel good about themselves, we have looked at our needs within the community and tried to achieve them and sometimes it has taken several years to accomplish those particular projects but we’ve done it responsibly. So that is what I would like to achieve, I would like to achieve responsible stewardship of the city.

Q: What is the main obstacle for the city of Palmer in the next two or three years, and how do you plan to overcome that difficulty?

A: I don’t necessarily know that it’s an obstacle but a challenge and I think Palmer is in a renaissance of sorts of local businesses and with the south Palmer area starting to open up I think that we are going to have businesses coming into town in an area that might need additional infrastructure investment while balancing the needs and services in our existing area.

Q: As Palmer grows, what changes do you foresee with an increase in full-time residents? Of those changes due to incremental increase in population size, what are the pros and cons of Palmer as a small town growing into a larger small town?

A: Growth is a double edge sword. It can change the dynamics of a community but if managed properly it can add opportunity for a flourishing private sector.

Q: What about your life outside City Hall will help you work inside City Hall? What assets do you bring from your past personal or political experience?

A: My 23 years in the engineering and construction industry has provided me with an understanding that has been invaluable while on the city council. This city provides water and sewer services while managing roads and airport. In my latest career I’m chief of staff for the representative of district 29, and with my understanding of government processes and programs i think i can bring an insight that no others in this race can.

Q: What ultimately compelled you to run for the two or three-year council seat or mayor?

A: I believe in community service and love the city of Palmer.

Q: How will you work with the city manager, mayor and other council members to solve the issues facing Palmer?

A: Robust and varying opinions are necessary for discussions when to come to a consensus with people that you might not have necessarily agreed with in the beginning. I think you get a much better product and ultimately that serves the citizens more appropriately.

David Fuller

Q: What personal accomplishment (or as part of an organization) are you most proud of during your time living in Palmer?

A: A personal accomplishment that I am most proud of during my time living in Palmer was as a Palmer Lion. In 2015 we had the best year ever, making over $13,000.00 for the Palmer Food Bank, Salvation Army and Special Santa Program. What was even better was that I was recognized by the Club with the Organization’s highest honor, The Melvin Jones Fellowship Award.

Q: What is it you hope to accomplish in the next two or three years on the council?

A: Aside from establishing term limits, I hope to work with the Council to address the issues of future growth and development as well as reconnect Palmer. For example, our City is literally divided by high capacity roads. One of my main goals is to safely reconnect Palmer with itself so that pedestrians can traverse our City without having to worry about crossing a four lane street. There was a time when our Council could have provided feedback and address the problem head on with DOT while many of these projects were still in the planning phase.

Q: What is the main obstacle for the city of Palmer in the next two or three years, and how do you plan to overcome that difficulty?

A: I feel the biggest obstacle for the City of Palmer is resistance to positive change. We have to face the fact that our City is growing and we need to plan and address the issues of growth before we are forced to deal with them under adverse conditions. Again I address the fact that after all of these road improvements our City is now even more inaccessible for its citizens than ever before. The second and third order effects of this project should have been recognized right off the bat, but it was ignored as a DOT problem.

Q: As Palmer grows, what changes do you foresee with an increase in full-time residents? Of those changes due to incremental increase in population size, what are the pros and cons of Palmer as a small town growing into a larger small town?

A: According to City of Palmer Website, Palmer is a town of about 6200 living within an area of 5.07 square miles. As more folks move to town to live, work and play, we as a City need to be able to provide the basic services to accommodate them. Examples of this are in the form of safe and accessible pedestrian paths, maintained parks and recreational spaces, and adequate public safety and works departments. Some of the pros of growing Palmer are that we will have more influence on planning in areas currently outside city limits. Some of the cons of growing Palmer are that as we expand so are city services and the size of government. As a city we have to be able to provide adequate infrastructure maintenance and public safety as well as address the issues like homelessness and effective public safety. I feel that we can do that and do it smartly.

Q: What about your life outside City Hall will help you work inside City Hall? What assets do you bring from your past personal or political experience?

A: I have over 25 years of experience working with all sorts of folks from a myriad of different backgrounds. From coordinating with military sister service components to multinational partners successfully accomplishing shared end goals or finding a happy medium to satisfy both sides of a dispute. One of the biggest assets I bring to the table is that I will listen to the other side of a discussion/argument with an open mind and use it to make an educated decision.

Q: What ultimately compelled you to run for the two or three-year council seat or mayor?

A: I graduated from Palmer High School in 1990 and have been a resident of the City of Palmer since 1998. I was compelled to run for public office because I do not want to see our city miss the proverbial train when it comes to growth and development. As it stands right now, Palmer has no say as to the development to the North, South and West of town and there is a very good chance that in the next few years the Highway Corridor to the South of Palmer could develop as Wasilla did with Strip Malls and Roadside businesses. Is that how we want to welcome people to our town? I want to see Palmer grow and flourish smartly and not have to react after the fact.

Q: How will you work with the city manager, mayor and other council members to solve the issues facing Palmer?

A: I feel that the City Manager, Mayor, and other Council Members have the best interests of Palmer in their hearts, but only in a perfect world would we all share the same views and opinions on how to best accomplish those interests. With that being said, I believe that working with folks and seeing their perspectives of the problem as well as explaining my position, is the best way to work together to accomplish a solution. I may disagree with legislation, but I will not hold a grudge over it. I am human enough to admit that I may be wrong; and if not, follow up on it again another day. All in all I believe we can work together to get the job done.

Dr. Jill Valerius

Q: What personal accomplishment (or as part of an organization) are you most proud of during your time living in Palmer?

A: I am most proud of opening my own medical practice in Palmer. It is the first Functional and Integrative Medical Clinic in Alaska. This past year I transitioned the practice to a membership model, which offers a “direct pay” option. These are fairly common in the lower 48, but very new to Alaska. It allows me to provide a higher level of care to practice members, focusing on health and wellness, at an overall reduced cost.

Q: What is it you hope to accomplish in the next two or three years on the council?

A: The next three years are going to be pivotal for Palmer. We will need to work to get ahead of the growth that is occurring. Currently we are fairly economically stable, however, we need to continue to develop strategies to improve our economic viability. Maintaining our “downtown”, its history, and sense of community while Palmer grows is critical. I would like to see us focus on improving our image as a “destination”, rather than a bedroom community. Further developing walkability, parks, and safe public spaces will help us to draw more families and businesses into Palmer. As we are financially able, I would like to see the completion of paving the few remaining dirt roads in town. This investment will allow us to reduce our recurring maintenance costs.

Q: What is the main obstacle for the city of Palmer in the next two or three years, and how do you plan to overcome that difficulty?

A: Growth and economic strength are our main obstacles. Managing growth while maintaining those things we value most about Palmer are going to be key. I can help the council with my experience anticipating change and working to stay ahead. We need to be working with the Borough and State representatives to further prioritize our needs as a city. Working together as a Council we also need to gather input from the community and develop a plan for our future, and commit to following this plan.

Q: As Palmer grows, what changes do you foresee with an increase in full-time residents? Of those changes due to incremental increase in population size, what are the pros and cons of Palmer as a small town growing into a larger small town?

A: A growing city needs strong, dependable infrastructure. We will need to continue to improve our roads, public safety, and services. A recent survey revealed that community members value parks and trails, walkability, the library, and safety. We have a great downtown area, which we need to maintain. We need to bridge all of our neighborhoods together, to promote safety for those that are walking and cycling. Children and youth need to be able to safely get to and from schools and seniors need places that provide the assurance of safety to walk and recreate. If we follow the model of the “8 80 cities”, which is a concept promoted by Gil Penalosa, and keep the needs of 8 and 80 year olds in mind when planning our public spaces, Palmer will be safe for all ages. A safe community results in savings for individuals and the community as a whole. We can also continue to improve on recycling in Palmer, working with Valley Community Recycling Solutions and reduce our burden on the landfill.

Q: What about your life outside City Hall will help you work inside City Hall? What assets do you bring from your past personal or political experience?

A: I believe City Council members are elected to represent the citizens. As a Palmer citizen and business owner, I have personal opinions about what I would like to see in terms of growth and development, however, as a Council Member, one must be able to set aside their personal opinion when it is not congruent with the wishes of the constituents. This is similar to how I approach patient care in my medical practice. There are times that my goals for a patient may differ from their own and in that case, the patient goals clearly prevail. As a business owner, I need to be flexible and anticipatory with regards to the future. I successfully opened my practice, just over 5 years ago and have recognized the need to transition my practice model to maintain financial viability, which I have done this year. Being proactive and anticipatory is required in business. As the saying goes, “if you are not moving forward, you are falling behind”. This is the change we need in the City Council, transitioning from a reactive position to a proactive position. I have this experience.

Q: What ultimately compelled you to run for the two or three-year council seat or mayor?

A: Running for a three-year seat on City Council made the most sense to me. I feel that this will give me the time to learn how the city functions and make an impact. I have been thinking about this for years and am happy to be at a place personally and professionally which allows me to serve.

Q: How will you work with the city manager, mayor and other council members to solve the issues facing Palmer?

A: I hope to bring balance to the council. Currently there is a split in ideology among the members. We need to move beyond political responses and get back to representing the community as a whole.

TWO-YEAR COUNCIL SEAT

Steve Carrington

Q: What personal accomplishment (or as part of an organization) are you most proud of during your time living in Palmer?

A: I first was elected to Palmer City Council in 1996. I soon found out that for decades we had one person that was both the manager and clerk. This may have made sense when the city was quite small, but needed to be corrected as the city grew. This became my personal project with many discussions/arguments with the mayor back then. We have had an actual clerk now for 15 years or so.One fairly uncommon thing about Palmer is our form of government; it's called a council/manager form of government. Our city council hires a manager that runs most of the city. Our mayor leads the council, but our manager is the one that handles the day-to-day operations of the city. That's why hiring the city manager is one of the more important tasks our council can do. I have been honored to be part of hiring our city manager three times now. I am very pleased and content with our current city manager Nate Wallace. He maintains a great balance between keeping 7 bosses happy while juggling the city operations.

Q: What is it you hope to accomplish in the next two or three years on the council?

A: Perimeter growth – that is annexation. Palmer's city boundary looks like a half-completed jigsaw puzzle with very little rhyme or reason. Palmer is a very dense city which is very efficient, but I think we need to expand our boundaries appropriately. It wouldn't have to be large annexation, but if you look at Palmer's borders we are rather dense and need to have room for even incremental growth.

Q: What is the main obstacle for the city of Palmer in the next two or three years, and how do you plan to overcome that difficulty?

A: Palmer has come through some rocky times in the last decade. Although I mention growing, we have to keep in mind how we grow. Growth alone isn't the answer, we need to plan and consider how we are going to do this. Also, we don't have any money trees. We have to figure out how to pay for our planned growth. I think the biggest obstacle is being able to plan appropriately and thus annexation is a key issue for us.

Q: As Palmer grows, what changes do you foresee with an increase in full-time residents? Of those changes due to incremental increase in population size, what are the pros and cons of Palmer as a small town growing into a larger small town?

A: An incremental increase in our population is the kind of growth that Palmer can handle easily – as long as we have space (see #2 annexation). We have completely upgraded our sewer plant and have worked the last decade or more on improving our roads. Incremental growth is what Palmer is setup for.

Q: What about your life outside City Hall will help you work inside City Hall? What assets do you bring from your past personal or political experience?

A: Politically I consider myself a “Creative Libertarian”. My philosophy tends to be cheap on spending money and keeping taxes low and preserving privacy and individual rights. But I also tend to be creative in how I solve problems so many things can be considered. I am a man of faith, and my Christian faith reminds me that I should love mercy, do justice and walk humbly with God (ref: Micah 6). That's Compassion: worked in refugee camps for Boat People in Hong Kong, Communication: BA in Intercultural Communications, worked for MEA Member Public Relations for more than a decade (the intercultural training was quite helpful with all the different areas). Grandpa status- 5 grandkids compliments of my wife's kids.

Q: What ultimately compelled you to run for the two or three-year council seat or mayor?

A: A few months ago I was pushing to try and get designated at-large seats for Palmer City Council. I still believe it is a simpler and more honest way to do elections as opposed to the vote for up to 2 in a group). Because I argued for it, I felt I should choose the “designated” 2-year seat. Also it is a bit nostalgic for me as I first was elected to a “designated” 1-year seat back in 1996.

Q: How will you work with the city manager, mayor and other council members to solve the issues facing Palmer?

A: Discussion, debate, arguing, listening, counterpoint, creative story telling, I believe I have the history and temperament to work though issues with all those elected and hired by the city.

Lee Henrikson

Q: What personal accomplishment (or as part of an organization) are you most proud of during your time living in Palmer?

A: Big Cabbage Radio is a valuable community resource. It shares stories and information about the community, promotes citizen involvement in the creation of radio shows, and serves as a vital communication resource in emergencies and natural disasters. I have been on the board of directors and a volunteer at Big Cabbage Radio since 2009, mostly behind the scenes. I set up the donor database, created and maintain the programming schedule, have written grants that brought in tens of thousands of dollars, written the e-Newsletter, been a co-host of the Morning Show, served as Board president since 2012 and more. It’s been an amazing learning journey about radio; about community radio across the country; and about all the events, groups, and individuals in our community. I am proud to be part of the station’s success and its contribution to Palmer.

Q: What is it you hope to accomplish in the next two or three years on the council?

A: We have a good network of trails and walkways in Palmer. I want to improve the connectivity and access to walking and biking trails. Walkability and bikeability are good for the community. When people are out walking and biking, they are healthier. They also get to know their neighbors better – this decreases social isolation and crime. I also want to review the plan for parks in the City and help move it forward so that every neighborhood has a park within a safe 10-minute walk.

Q: What is the main obstacle for the city of Palmer in the next two or three years, and how do you plan to overcome that difficulty?

A: We are in an era of rapid change and instability. Technology has disrupted many industries. Due to the ongoing state budget issues and the trade war with China (Alaska’s largest trading partner) Alaska faces an unstable financial future. Palmer has to be proactive in this brave new world. Working with the council and staff, I want to make sure the city is financially protected in this unpredictable environment while continuing to improve the lives of its citizens and helping its businesses to flourish.

Q: As Palmer grows, what changes do you foresee with an increase in full-time residents? Of those changes due to incremental increase in population size, what are the pros and cons of Palmer as a small town growing into a larger small town?

A: Palmer’s growth is limited by its small footprint, so we control the growth in the town itself. One way to increase housing density is through accessory dwelling units. If we also add trails, sidewalks, and local parks at the same time, we will maintain the small-town vibe that residents like. Palmer is also impacted by growth in the Greater Palmer area and it has no control over this growth. If we do nothing, the growth will still come – surrounding Palmer - and we will have no say in how it happens. This could destroy our small-town feel. As the Palmer area becomes a more desirable location for people, it will be necessary to revisit annexation to preserve the small-town feel that everyone loves. We may have to get bigger to stay small.

Q: What about your life outside City Hall will help you work inside City Hall? What assets do you bring from your past personal or political experience?

A: I retired from UAA as an instructional designer. In my role there, I worked with faculty to help them teach with technology and teach online. Communication was key to my success. My organization skills and collaborative attitude made me a success at UAA and at the radio station and will serve the City well if I am on the Council.

Q: What ultimately compelled you to run for the two or three-year council seat or mayor?

A: I like solving problems for the greater good and I like working collaboratively. I look for new challenges and I am excited and passionate about our city. Now that I’m retired, I have time to dedicate to the City and the council.

Q: How will you work with the city manager, mayor and other council members to solve the issues facing Palmer?

A: Recently, the Council deadlocked on the decision for an interim appointment to a Council seat until it found a way through. There were long periods of silence during the debate. Rather than letting there be silence, I intend to ask clarifying questions to help surface intentions and reasons for positions that are unclear to me. That is, I want to keep the conversation going – and explore the differences and similarities. If we can continue to talk and explore, we can find a solution sooner than the Council was able to in this instance. I also want to occasionally have coffee with other council members, particularly those that I don’t know well or who have different views on City issues from me. Getting to know people as individuals and understand where they are coming from helps me work better with them. I am aware of and will follow the open meetings act in this endeavor.

Information provided by the candidates was compiled by Frontiersman reporter Tim Rockey.

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