KDLG heard from the people running for the only contested city council seat ahead of Dillingham's Oct. 5 election. Absentee and early voting is underway through Oct. 4. Polls are open from 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. on Oct. 5 at Dillingham City Hall.
KDLG caught up with the candidates running for the one contested seat on the Dillingham City Council. Kaleb Westfall is running unopposed for seat E.
The candidates running for seat F shared some of the key issues they would focus on if elected.
The interview segments have been lightly edited for clarity.
Incumbent Gregg Marxmiller first came to Dillingham in 1991 as a young boy to partake in Bristol Bay’s salmon industry. He continued to set net after that, and moved to Dillingham full-time in 2011, when he started his work at SAFE Shelter for Victims of Domestic Assault and/or Sexual Assault.
Marxmiller was appointed to the Planning Commission in 2014. In 2018, he ran for city council and was elected for a three-year term.
Marxmiller shared his own candidate profile on Facebook.
Points of focus:
City staff support, retention, recruitment
“Some of the other issues facing us, as far as having open positions and how we can attract great talent and keep the great talent that we have.”
“I think we have people that work hard. I look forward to giving people that work hard for the city more tools to do their work. Whether it’s better equipment; more support with staff.”
“We’re looking at city managers right now and that’s going to be a process that goes past the election. Having a good city manager will be great for our city.”
City Services Assessment
"That report, the assessment helps us get a good view point on where we are so we know where to go.”
“Going through that process and the community to go through that process would be helpful to create a more workable city.”
Comprehensive Plan, harbor and revenue
“We’re looking at a comprehensive plan which is our revisioning statement. That will be a very important process for the whole community to take part in. Looking at what we can do to get more assistance to help our harbor.”
“Looking at revenue so that we can do some of the things that we see in our vision with the Comprehensive Plan and see what some of the issues are in the assessment so we can do better for our citizens. It’s important.”
“You know, we are in a crisis. Dealing with that crisis is something that I think the citizens of this community expect government to have a major part in.”
“I think we’ve done the best we can to preserve peoples’ freedoms while making sure that we have a safe community. I think we can do more.”
“Hearing what people think is important to that -- how COVID is affecting people and how we can get through this so we can get back to our normal, everyday lives.”
Perry Abrams has lived a total of almost 40 years in Dillingham. He served in the military for several years. He has been the pastor for the Community Baptist Church for eight years. Abrams also has experience in the aviation industry; he worked at PenAir for 13 years, and for the past five years he has operated an air taxi service with his wife.
Abrams shared his own candidate profile on the Dillingham Trading Post via his wife Michelle's account.
Points of focus:
Understaffing in the city’s departments
“We have multiple city departments that are understaffed, and in some areas underfunded, I believe. And I think we can spend our money better. I think that there has been a lot of waste.”
“In some areas within the city, I think that because of lack of staffing, lack of maybe some funding or support in certain areas, there are certain departments that have just been left to themselves. And they try to do the best that they can. But it's not good enough.”
Public safety personnel and substance misuse
“I would like to see the incentives to fill [police department] positions. I would like to see it so that people would want to work there -- that it's a fun, that it's a happy place to work and that it's a good place to work. I'm not sure that we have that currently... In the height of the pandemic, we had law enforcement and we had security out at the airports checking everybody's permits to make sure that they were authorized to enter Dillingham. If we did half of that to try to curtail drugs that are coming into Dillingham we would make a huge impact on our drug abuse.”
“I like a limited government interference in personal lives. I think when government gets too much control, our freedoms disappear. And it's impossible to get them back once that happens. Now, I do understand during emergencies and everything certain protocols are met, and we're all required and need to sacrifice some things in order to meet that emergency. I think now we have met that emergency, we are moving into the next phase of it.”
“I would like to see a change in the masking and the recommendations. What I would like to see is a strong set of recommendations down to where the people don't feel like the government is shoving it down their throat, but they can look and see and say, 'Hey, this is reasonable, this makes sense. And this is reasonable, let's do it.'”
How to vote:
Dillingham’s municipal election is October 5. Polls are open from 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. in City Hall Council Chambers.
Absentee and early voting is underway through on Oct. 4.
Absentee voting in person, by mail, by personal representative
Any qualified voter may vote an absentee ballot through Oct. 4:
1. If they will be unavoidably absent from their voting precinct on election day; or
2. If they will be unable to be present at the polls because of a physical disability.
Absentee Voting by Mail Application must be received by Sept 25, 2021.
Contact the author at email@example.com or 907-842-2200.