FAIRBANKS, Alaska - For a term of just about three months, Mindy O'Neall was appointed to fill the vacancy in seat C on the borough Assembly left by Andrew Gray, who moved to Oregon for a new job. O'Neall was selected from a pool of five candidates who applied for the position and then immediately sworn in. "It was a really humbling experience. When I was looking at the clerks taking the oath, it was to uphold the U.S. Constitution, the constitution of the state, and the laws of the borough... and she put a little stamp on it, and it was like 'okay this is real'" said O'Neall.
O'Neall says she believes she has a good understanding of different perspectives and ideas. "I think what excites me the most is being able to have some sort of influence on how policy is created and how local government can really affect people's lives in a positive way," said O'Neall.
She says she thinks a big issue the Assembly is going to have to help with is how communities are going to be impacted by changes to the state's budget. "I see that that's going to be an issue that the assembly needs to consider with the public's input of what are really the values that our community stands for and where are we going to put these dwindling resources," said O'Neall.
She went on to say "I kind of feel like I have some stars in my eyes to tell you the truth, but I feel like I am ready to get to work."
O'Neall starts on the Assembly for her first meeting Thursday night and will run in the election in October to continue on with a possible three-year term. As of Thursday, O'Neall will be running against Jeffrey Rentzel, and Lachlan "Sol" Gillispie to retain her newly appointed seat. Candidates have until Monday August 5th at 5 p.m. to withdraw from the election.