Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966


Packets available for office seekers


Haines Borough residents interested in running for Mayor or assembly can now pick up candidate filing applications at the borough administration office or access them online.

Seats held by Mayor Stephanie Scott, assembly member Debra Schnabel and assembly member Jerry Lapp are up for grabs. The filing period opens Aug. 1 and closes Aug. 20.

Scott, who will be finishing her first three-year term as Mayor, said she hasn’t decided whether she will run again. “I am looking for that same flash of motivation and insight that led me to run in the first place. I have to make sure that it’s the right thing to do, and that’s something that only comes with deep reflection,” she said.

“I am worried about it. I want to make the right decision not just for me, but for the whole community,” Scott added.

Resident Jan Hill, who ran as an incumbent in the 2011 mayoral election and lost to Scott, said she will be running again this year.

“I enjoy hands-on involvement in the community and I’ve missed being the mayor,” Hill said. “I’ve had a lot of people encourage me to run again.”

Hill said she didn’t want to start talking about specific issues yet, though she said in the past three years she has observed situations she would have handled differently. “I talk to the people who support me, and there are things we would have approached differently or thought the residents of the borough should have been more involved in the decisions the assembly was making.”

“I’m a lifelong resident of Haines and I care about what happens here,” Hill added.

Former Mayor Fred Shields said he also is considering running for the borough’s top job. “I think I’ve been successful in the past and I think I have something to offer that’s needed,” Shields said.

If elected, Shields said he would like to address the borough’s deficit spending, which he does not approve of. “We shouldn’t spend money we don’t have,” he said.

Shields said he would also like the borough to get ahead of any mining development that may occur in the area. “I would like for the borough to have in place a nice set of mining ordinances before development takes place,” he said.

Assembly member Debra Schnabel said she’ll be stepping down.

“I am taking advantage of the term ending to take stock of my relationship to the community and my governmental experience,” Schnabel said.

“I am social by nature and service suits me. However, the process employed by local government is not always fruitful. It requires patience, and that is not my strong suit. I want to enjoy myself,” she added.

Assembly member Jerry Lapp said he hasn’t decided whether he will seek another term, though he is leaning toward not running. “I’ve put in 19 years (in local government). Maybe it’s time for someone else,” Lapp said.

One of the reasons Lapp is considering staying on the assembly is to pursue economic growth in the community.

“You never really see enough of it. There are too many groups out there that are against any kind of economic development, especially in this valley,” Lapp said. “I just want to see a healthy town.”

The election is Oct. 7.