Candidate Profiles: Fairbanks City Council Seat D

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) There are two candidates vying for Fairbanks City Council Seat D, Aaron Gibson and Julie Smyth. Kathryn Ottersten, the current seat holder, announced earlier this year she is not running for election.

There are two candidates vying for Fairbanks City Council Seat D, Aaron Gibson and Julie Smyth. Kathryn Ottersten, the current seat holder, announced earlier this year she is not running for election. (Picture courtesy Aaron Gibson and Julie Smyth via Facebook)

Both Gibson and Smyth said they were inspired to run by the same thing, their families.

“I have three children and I want what’s best for them," began Smyth. What’s best for them would be to make sure that our city is the best it can be for all children so that way if something were to happen to one of my children, they were to fall down, it would be okay.”

“I was born and raised here in Fairbanks and Fairbanks is a place I really love," started Gibson. "It’s the place my wife and I have chosen to raise my family. I want to see what I can do help make Fairbanks a better city for my family and other families to live in.”

Smyth says the first thing she would address if elected would be revisiting the equal rights ordinance, #6093. The ordinance was vetoed by current Mayor Jim Matherly and has not returned to the city council since then. Gibson on the other hand, says the city’s continued struggle with a budget is what he would focus on.

“That will be my biggest priority, putting a focus on the budget, making sure we have a sustainable budget for the next generation," said Gibson. "I think removing the cap within the cap was probably the best solution that was put forward this year. Raising the bed tax probably wasn’t the best solution.”

Smyth says her she has a unique perspective not currently shared by the council.

“I have fallen down, I have been homeless," said Smyth. "I use public transportation now. I’m going to UAF. I’ve used many of the programs for feeding families and making sure were not homeless. Everybody has different opinions and I think that everybody on the city council tries to do their best for what they have. Some of the people, their priorities and their values are different and that is something I would like to change. To have it focus on the values we as a community would like. This is how we make sure we follow what the community wants, and not just making sure one or two people are happy."

Both candidates voiced their support and interest in FPD’s new police Chief Nancy Reeder but they spoke on different things when it came to public safety.

“I think we need to work on relations between the police when it comes to marginalized communities in in our city,” said Smyth.

“Public safety today is getting better a lot better," began Gibson. "The police department is just getting back to fully staffed level. It hasn’t been in a long time. I think it’s important that we give the support to our police department and our public safety department as a whole to ensure that they can provide the best level of service to residents and the citizens of Fairbanks.”

Despite having different opinions, both of these candidates say they want to make the Golden Heart city a better place.

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