FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) Four candidates are running for Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly Seat B. Incumbent Shaun Tacke is running against Jo Ann Borges, William Pawlirzyn, and Frank Tomaszewski.
The candidates were asked why they are running to be on the borough assembly.
"I feel there are a lot of folks here in town that are not being invited in, not being embraced, they're intimidated to go to the borough assembly and state their voice, state their opinions, everyone has a voice here in our town and I think with me sitting there, it'll open the doors, it'll let more people come in, and let them know that it's a safe environment,” said Borges.
"I'm running so I can bring a reasoned approach to all things that come across the assembly. I’ve been doing it for three years and I want to continue with the same effort and direction that we're going in, I want to see the climate action task force, see it come to completion to actually have it produce some reports and ideas on ways that we can help improve our climate in our community," said Tacke.
"I feel that local government, and state government, federal government, a lot of it has lost touch with actual working class families. I myself am a single parent, so I know the struggles that it can take, in terms of what it is for a time commitment, for us to just focus on surviving and I feel a lot of politicians just can't relate to that anymore and I think it's time to get that perspective into government," said Pawlirzyn,
"I love my community, I've been in Fairbanks for 40 years and I've raised 5 kids here, and I'm raising five kids here, this community has been a blessing to me, I come from a place of gratitude to call Fairbanks my home, and I want to be able to serve the community better by the opportunity to serve on the borough assembly," said Tomaszewski.
Tacke says there are three big issues he sees the borough facing.
“Climate change is going to be affecting us here sooner than later, as we’ve seen with more fires. So being prepared for climate changes, clean our air, our air is not the cleanest in the country, as we all know, and ways that we can help get that better, especially after the fact that we’ve changed our laws so that way we can’t create penalties and we can’t put on stricter restrictions. Then also, budgets, with our governor slashing tons of line-items, we have had to weather a lot more of that as a community, and so being more prepared to look at our government with a business sense is very important,” said Tacke.
Borges says she thinks the community needs to get better at apologizing when mistakes are made, working towards better unity, and also work on cleaning up the air.
“I am all about accountability, the military is accountable for producing mass and mass tons of nasty air coming from their power plant. Since 1999, they’ve been required through the EPA to put in filters and they haven’t. Yet, they’re haggling with us about our wood burning stoves and our emissions, and the cars heating up at Walmart and I believe that if we took accountability for what the military is doing, it won’t solve, it will help eliminate, a lot of the PM 2.5. We need to have clean air, we have a lot of sick elders and children here,” said Borges.
“I think the big issues facing the borough is going to be air quality, is going to be a hot button issue, I think another one is going to be budget issues, that seems to be an issue everywhere so trying to balance a budget I think is going to be a lot and it seems that there is quite a significant amount of social tension within the borough as well,” said Pawlirzyn.
Tomaszewski says the issues he really wants to dive into are land use, zoning and planning. “I’d like to see more private property into the public, and economic development is an important thing for our community. We need to encourage more manufacturing, mining, agriculture, all kinds of business opportunities here in Fairbanks that will help diversify our economy,” said Tomaszewski.
The candidates are looking for different takeaways from their experience on the borough assembly, if elected.
“What I hope to gain from being on the assembly is really just to be more connected to the community and to meet all the wonderful people that are here. It really is the golden heart of Alaska and just in my campaigning, this is the first time I’ve ever run for office, just in the campaigning I’ve done so far, going out and meeting people and talking with them, there is such a love in the community, and I really want to just become more of a part of that,” said Tomaszewski.
“I don’t hope to gain anything personally, I like this town, I like this community, there’s definitely the capacity for compassion. There’s a lot of help, there’s a lot of friendly faces, if somebody needs help, we genuinely wish people well, and we want to make sure people are doing okay. There seems to be too much division in general, as well, within the outside world, and I don’t want to see that affect us. So I just want to see a little bit more cohesion for our borough, for our community,” said Pawlirzyn.
“I’m not necessarily looking for any major gain for myself in that aspect, basically being able to communicate a little bit better in public forums, learn more about what our government does, and try to help influence other elected officials to help make the right approaches to our government and the way it’s ran,” said Tacke.
“I hope to get a lot more folks inside the building. I hope to bring our community together. I hope that we can come to solutions, everyone has opinions and input, everyone can solve the problem, but we can’t do it alone. We have to join forces, there are a lot of folks with a lot of wisdom, here in town, and we need to work together. My goals are to get everyone, all the communities, all of us, together to come up with solutions to make it a better home, a better community, for our children and our grandchildren. We have to do this,” said Borges.
When asked why residents should vote for them:
“If they want to see a change in their own lives. I want the ability for people to make the best decisions for them, and not let government tell them what’s best for them,” said Pawlirzyn.
“I love this community, and I want to be a part of this community, and I think that serving on the borough assembly would really help facilitate that,” said Tomaszewski.
“I take a reasoned approach to all ordinances that come across the borough’s agenda, I’m an open book, and it’s my personal cell phone that’s on the website, so people can call me any time. I love to take on all sorts of different perspectives, and bring those to the decision making process. Hopefully let people know that they can come to me as well,” said Tacke.
“I’m different from someone else, I don’t have a particular agenda, and mine is for everyone in the community. I speak for the elders, the Veterans, for the Hispanics, for the Natives, I have been friends with everyone. I think everyone together, we should all vote for the person who makes them feel more at home, and I’m hoping that is the one person, ‘ y para todos los latinos tenemos que trabajar junto,’ and that means ‘all us Hispanics, we have to work together to make this a welcoming town,” said Borges.
The municipal election is on October 1st, and one of these four candidates will be elected to serve a three year term on the borough assembly.
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