Two candidates withdraw from local races
August 27, 2020
Less than a week after the Aug. 20 filing deadline, two candidates have withdrawn from the Haines Borough Assembly and school board races—Tresham Gregg from the assembly race and Sara Chapell from the school board contest.
Chapell’s withdrawal means the four remaining candidates—school board member Brian Clay, school board president Anne Marie Palmieri, high school senior Lydia Andriesen and Tiffany DeWitt—are guaranteed seats on the board for the coming year. The one who receives the fewest votes on Oct. 6 will be elected to a one-year term. The rest will serve for three years.
Chapell said she decided to step down to allow others to serve. “I saw that a couple of new people filed, and I wanted to encourage new voices to participate,” she said.
Chapell, who was originally elected to the school board in 2012, said she ran most recently because she wanted to participate in the selection process for a new superintendent. She said she felt comfortable withdrawing from this year’s race because she knows the board will be in good hands.
“We need a solid group of people making COVID-19 decisions, and we do and we will,” Chapell said.
Tresham Gregg, who was one of three assembly members subjected to a recall effort in 2017, said he withdrew from this year’s race after giving the matter further thought.
Gregg filed to run hours before this year’s deadline. In an interview before he withdrew, Gregg said he decided to run because he believes the borough is moving in an irresponsible direction.
“I would like to present a voice of reason in dealing with the community’s future,” he said.
In a subsequent interview, Gregg said he withdrew from the race because he realized he lacked the time to devote to the position.
“I realized I couldn’t handle the workload. It was interfering with some of the plans for my life,” Gregg said, listing a creative online marketing project he’s pursuing and the recent fire at his art gallery.
Gregg said the decision to withdraw was also influenced by the unpleasantness surrounding the 2017 recall effort.
“When I thought about it after I had applied, I felt that a lot of the old ghosts were coming back to haunt me,” he said.
With Gregg out of the mix, six assembly candidates remain for four open seats: Carol Tuynman, Helen Alten, Caitie Kirby, Cheryl Stickler, and current assembly members Jerry Lapp and Brenda Josephson. Jan Hill and Douglas Olerud are competing for the mayor’s seat.