The City of Bethel will hold a Regular Election Tuesday, October 6th, 2020 for the purpose of electing candidates to the City Council. This year we have 4 candidates vying for 3 open seats on the Bethel City Council. Here is some information about who is running and why. Quyana for your responses.
Candidate: Perry Barr
Years in Bethel: 23 years lived in Bethel
Occupation/business: Retired Alaska State Trooper but currently employed by the Lower Kuskokwim School District as the School District Safety Coordinator.
Do you currently (or have in the past) served on any committees, boards, or volunteer positions and if yes, what and where? Please include service on city council: I am currently the Mayor of Bethel, and have been on the City Council for the last two years. I am the current President of the Bethel Family Clinic of which I have served for over 7 years. Prior to being President, I was the Vice President and a board member of the Clinic.
I am also the Vice President of Bethel Search and Rescue of which I am serving my 2nd two year term. I have been a member of BSAR for over 10 years.
I served on the National Indian Youth Police Academy for 4 years during the early 90’s.
I am also a current member of our local Civil Air Patrol.
During the 80’s, I was a member of the Friendship Center in Shishmaref for several years, a Suicide Prevention program.
Briefly describe the reason(s) why you want to be on City Council: I believe the current council has made great strides to improve Bethel and I am thankful to be a part of positive change. I wish to continue the hard work that still needs to be done.
Bethel has many issues and needs. What are the top three issues or priorities that are on your City of Bethel radar?: The three things I feel strongly about are 1. Finding innovative ways to improve services at the City Office. 2. Working with local entities to improve the quality of life in Bethel. 3. Improving the water and sewer services for this community.
What are your thoughts on Bethel’s COVID-19 situation? Do you have any unique ideas or insights on how to deal with this pandemic?: COVID-19 efforts: Our agencies in Bethel have come together to combat the virus since the beginning. I am very proud of the fact that we are keeping this community as safe as possible. But we need to keep vigilant and continue to keep social distancing, washing frequently and wearing our masks.
Do you have any hobbies or interests or favorite foods?: Like most people living here in this community, I am an avid hunter and fisherman. I enjoy the outdoors and the opportunities it provides.
Thank you Perry for your responses.
Candidate: Rose “Sugar” Henderson
My name is Rose “Sugar” Henderson. I am the daughter of Buster and Wally Richardson, and the granddaughter to Max and Sophie Lieb.
Years in Bethel: I have lived in Bethel for 56 years.
Occupation/business: I am currently the School/Community Advocate for BRHS.
Do you currently (or have in the past) served on any committees, boards, or volunteer positions and if yes, what and where? Please include service on city council:I currently sit on the “Parks, Recreation, Aquatic, Health & Safety Center Committee”. This is the one and only position that I have held with the City of Bethel. On the other hand, I have served on the board of Bethel Little League, Bethel Cubs Scouts and the Ladies Auxiliary.
Briefly describe the reason(s) why you want to be on City Council: Due to the Pandemic, and until recently, I had been sitting at home wishing that I had something to be working on. I decided that it would be fun to dedicate my time to the City of Bethel and play my part in working at making our town even more special than it already is.
Bethel has many issues and needs. What are the top three issues or priorities that are on your City of Bethel radar?: My top three priorities at this time are as follows:To hire a City Manager;Getting a budget created so that our current parks are kept clean, and to develop a plan to get a boardwalk built that connects various parts of town; Loose dogs.
What are your thoughts on Bethel’s COVID-19 situation? Do you have any unique ideas or insights on how to deal with this pandemic?: At this time, I am unclear exactly what we are allowed to do as a 2nd Class City. But when I gather all of that information, I would love to brainstorm with everyone on things that we are allowed to do to keep our citizen safe and healthy.
Do you have any hobbies or interests or favorite foods?: Since April 5th when RAVN closed it’s doors, my hobby became puzzles. Since that date, I have completed 18 puzzles. The rest of my time has been dedicated to my grandbabies and my family.
Thank you Rose for your responses!
Write-in Candidate: Conrad McCormick
Years in Bethel: 23 (I am 23 years old, so that means my whole life).
Occupation: Communications Specialist for YKHC in Public Relations / Own a food truck
Do you currently (or have in the past) served on any committees, boards, or volunteer positions and if yes, what and where? Please include service on city council: I am generally new to service for the city council, but I have attended a number of council meetings through the years now and through highschool. I have volunteered to support Bethel Friends of Canines frequently and worked with Bethel Council of the Arts. I worked for a presidential campaign back in 2016 during the primaries when I attended college in Hawai’i.
Briefly describe the reason(s) why you want to be on City Council: Representation, urgency, responsibility & for Bethel. I think with issues this community is facing, we need a young voice in community leadership, because many of the choices being made now will have an impact on the Bethel community I live in when I’m older and looking to raise children in this community.
It also feels like council doesn’t always represent the Bethel young people live in. Urgency because with each day passing it feels like there is a new event or issue going on that needs immediate attention, and I feel like I am standing by watching it happen instead of making a difference, I want to make a difference. There are also some social issues that council has yet to address that need immediate attention. I am responsible for what happens in this community, I’ve lived here my whole life, this is my home, I want to ensure the community gets what’s best, and that’s what’s most important. This community raised me to be who I am, and to empower me enough to feel that it was the right choice to run for city council. I love Bethel, and for that reason I’m running.
Bethel has many issues and needs. What are the top three issues or priorities that are on your City of Bethel radar?: I think the biggest issue we face right now is COVID-19 without a doubt. Our community is vulnerable to this virus, and serious measures need to be taken to protect us.
That aside, I think taking measures to combat sexual abuse in this community is necessary, I can’t say I’ve really seen council take an active role in combating that yet, despite it being a major issue in Bethel and the region. Combating other instances of violence is very necessary too, North America is seeing a pandemic of missing and murdered indigenous women, council needs to take an active role fighting that, as this has been addressed in other city councils in the United States. Lastly, I think just getting the community more involved is important. There seems to be an indifference to what the city does and I think more measures can be taken to involve the community so we can make decisions collectively.
What are your thoughts on Bethel’s COVID-19 situation? Do you have any unique ideas or insights on how to deal with this pandemic?: I think the rates we’re seeing are alarming. I think more protective and preventative measures need to be taken so we can overcome this. I’d also like to see council take a more active role in reporting what’s going on. There’s more we can do to keep Bethel safe through suggestions healthcare professionals have made. I want us to echo the sentiment brought forth by healthcare professionals, not our opinions. I think the recent mandate was a good start, but stricter options need to be explored now that we have community spread.
Do you have any hobbies or interests or favorite foods?: I really like to write. I genuinely like engaging in politics, along with studying it, when it doesn’t bog me down too much. For me that’s about fighting for each other. I’ve also always liked to study history, and I think those things are related. I play music, mostly on the piano. I feel like everyone here says this, but I do like to go out into the wilderness to sometimes hunt or fish, but other times just to be far away from things. It’s meditative and healing for me.
I also love to cook!!! I don’t really have a favorite food because I like food too much to pick one, but I love anything spicy and almost need to always try something new, or cook something new!
Thank you Conrad for your responses.
We apologize that we aren’t able to provide any responses from City Council Candidate Michelle DeWitt (due to family emergency).