Assembly member Tyler Huling resigned from her seat on Monday citing chronic stress and toxic public discourse as reasons for resigning.

Huling, elected in October 2021, served just less than half of her three-year term. She said no single incident prompted her resignation and described a “slow build” of corrosive public discourse.

“I don’t feel that way because the role is difficult, but because the underlying ideology that Haines should achieve economic development through industrialization, extraction, and colonization is something I find disturbing,” she wrote in her resignation letter to borough staff and officials. “I am made complicit through participation. I once thought that inhabiting this role was a worthwhile sacrifice. Now I see it as an ineffective use of my time and energy.”

Huling told the CVN she sees an “ideological war” playing out in the valley, between residents with values that are at odds in respect to what the local economy should look like, which “underlies every aspect of the Haines Borough’s governance.”

“While I have many good things to say about most folks involved in public process in Haines, there are also folks who comport themselves in ways I find anachronistic, unacceptable, and corrosive,” Huling wrote to the CVN.

In written public comment last month, Huling was criticized by Don Turner Junior, who sits on the planning commission. Turner criticized Huling as a “newcomer to Haines” who “does not understand planning” and is “against development.”

The letter generated discussion amongst the public and elected officials at a January assembly meeting about how the public and assembly ought to interact. Assembly person Debra Schnabel called for Turner’s removal from the planning commission. Others said assembly members should expect to receive criticism. Turner apologized to Huling at the meeting.

In her resignation letter, Huling called for the election of planning commissioners and wrote that assembly members should serve two-year terms instead of three.

Huling is one of six assembly members who have resigned in the last six years. Others include Mike Case, Sean Maidy, Margaret Friedenauer, Caitie Rothbart (Kirby) and Will Prisciandaro.

The assembly will accept her resignation at its next meeting, borough clerk Alekka Fullerton said and discuss how to recruit someone to fill Huling’s seat.

“Traditionally we have solicited letters of interest from the community,” Fullerton said. “The packet will have a memo about how they do it.”