Incumbent Daymond Hoffman won’t seek re-election to the Haines Borough Assembly. Instead, former City of Haines Mayor Dave Berry Jr. and tour boat captain Jonathan “Jono” Greene will vie for his vacated seat.
“I need to spend time with my kids and my family,” Hoffman said this week. “The assembly takes a lot of time. It’s something I’m going to miss because I really enjoy doing it.”
In the only other assembly race to be decided in the Oct. 2 municipal election, real estate broker Jim Studley will challenge one-term incumbent Joanne Waterman. Three candidates have filed to run for four seats on the borough school board. The filing deadline was July 27.
Berry said he’s running for assembly because he has municipal experience and thinks it’s a good time to serve again. “I think it’s time to throw my hat back in the public arena.”
Berry, 55, served as a Haines city councilman 13 years and as Mayor of the City of Haines for two. Berry works as a tribal administrator for the Chilkoot Indian Association. He said he hopes people come to the polls. “I just hope there’s a large voter turnout. Voting is a right…and I take it very seriously.”
Greene, 54, said he’s running because he “could serve the community well as someone who’s willing to listen to all sides, make rational decisions, and work hard to see them through.”
Greene said that although he’s new to politics, his varied background and understanding of issues would serve the community well. A written statement he submitted to the CVN this week includes balancing the ecosystem and economy, creating a diversified economy, increasing sustainable energy production and Internet access, and “living within our means.”
Incumbent Waterman said she’s running again so she can contribute to the progress that’s being made. “I feel there are a lot of important projects going on in Haines right now, and I want to be a part of that. We’re moving in a real good direction and I want to keep that going.”
Waterman, 55, works for the Alaska Marine Highway System at the Haines ferry terminal.
Studley, 60, said he has thought about running for years, and thinks now is the time to do it. “I want to (devote) the time and energy toward doing what the assembly is designed to do…I don’t have an agenda. I want to contribute to the progress it’s (the assembly) made in a positive manner.”
Three candidates are running uncontested for the school board and no one filed for a fourth board seat, a three-year-term to be filled by board appointment.
Chilkat Valley Preschool president Sara Chapell, 38, is seeking a seat with a three-year term. “I feel like I could be of service to the school board,” she said. “It’s a great school, and I want to put in time to help make it even better.”
Chapell said she has thought about running for a couple years, and this year is a good time to go for it. “I now have the time to really focus on the school and helping out…I can be entirely focused. The timing is really good.” All three of Chapell’s children will be at the school this year, as her youngest will begin kindergarten. Chapell is Duly Noted columnist for the CVN.
Royal Henderson, an incoming Haines High School senior who will turn 18 in a few weeks, is running for a one-year term on the board. Henderson told the CVN two weeks ago that he’s running so the student voice can be heard. “I spend more time in the school than a regular board member would…I want to prove that there’s no reason a student can’t serve on the board as a voting member,” he said.
Henderson has served as the student body president and the student representative to the board for the past two years.
Incumbent Brenda Jones said she’s running again for the school board because “the children are our most important resource.” Jones, 47, is seeking election to a seat with two years remaining in its term.
She said educating children so they become successful after they leave school is crucial. “The reason that I serve is for the children.” Jones works as a financial controller for Southeast Roadbuilders.
This is the second, consecutive year there have been more seats on the school board than candidates seeking them.
Some, including outgoing school board chair Carol Kelly, attribute the lack of interest in board seats to state financial disclosure rules for candidates they criticize as intrusive.
Longtime Haines schoolteacher Terry Sharnbroich, in an interview this week cited the disclosure rules and another possibility: The board’s membership may be too big. There once were five seats on the board; now there are seven, he said. “I don’t know. Seven seems like an awfully big board for the size of the town…But this is just speculation.”