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

Four candidates file for assembly


August 19, 2021

Debra Schnabel, 69, and Tyler Huling, 29, announced their candidacies for borough assembly this week. Brenda Josephson and Richard Clement filed after press time and this online story was updated late Friday. A full story on the all the candidates will appear in next week's paper.

Two seats—Carol Tuynman’s and Jerry Lapp’s—are up for election. Tuynman said she will not seek reelection. Lapp has not responded to requests for comment.

“I am encouraged by Mayor Olerud’s demonstrated sensibilities and by the borough’s offer of employment to Annette Kreitzer. The future appears brighter and I want to participate,” Schnabel wrote in an email to the CVN.

Schnabel served as borough manager from June 2017 to May 2020, when she was fired after a 4-3 assembly vote. Current assembly member Paul Rogers instigated her firing. Another current assembly member, Gabe Thomas, voted in favor of it. Rogers criticized Schnabel for pursuing her own agenda and not taking direction from the assembly. Asked how she would work with two assembly members who voted to fire her, Schnabel said she would serve with “the same degree of sincerity” that she has in the past.

In her long career in local politics, Schnabel has served twice on the borough assembly since the city and borough consolidated in 2003. Her most recent term ended in 2014. Schnabel was on the Haines City Council in the late 1970s, and in the 1990s she served two terms on the borough assembly/school board. From 2009 to 2011 Schnabel worked as an assistant to the borough manager.

“I believe I can be helpful in providing history, continuity and knowledge of process in our continued search for solutions to community issues,” Schnabel wrote in her email. She said, in a follow-up interview, that she is “not coming with any agenda.”

Although Schnabel has been around politics for most of her life — she was even student body president at Haines High School — she said she has “new and fresh ideas all the time.”

“I’m not just an old stick in the mud.”

The other resident who announced an assembly run this week, Tyler Huling, is a program analyst at the state’s public health department. Having grown up in Anchorage, living in Homer for most of her twenties and spending a few years working seasonally in Haines, she permanently moved to the borough 18 months ago.

“Haines has given me so much already, and this is the way I can give back,” Huling said.

A lifelong Alaskan resident, Huling said she understands “the challenges that small and remote communities face.”

Huling will turn 30 shortly after the Oct. 5 election. “I think it’s important for younger folks to participate in the civic process,” she said.

When asked which issues she would most like to address if elected, Schnabel said she didn’t have any. Huling declined to comment on the same question.

As of Wednesday, only two people have filed for school board: incumbents Michael Wald and Brian Clay. Four school board seats are up for election. After press time, Jonathan Wray, Kevin Shove and Shannon Dryden also filed for school board.

*This story has been updated to update candidate filings after Wednesday's press time.

**This story has been corrected with Tyler Huling's legal name, which will appear on the ballot. The original version of the article referred to Huling as Tyler Yarrow, a pseudonym that some know her by.


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