Borough Assembly Candidates Questionnaire

 

September 14, 2023

Rick Perkins

What is your age? 69

Why have you chosen to run for Assembly at this time?

I have been asked to bring people and ideas together without a divisive tone in this capacity.

What experience do you have that prepares you for this role?

In working for the Boeing Company, I was able to bridge the gap from engineering to assembly, by building the tooling to do so regardless of paperwork or personalities. I have built 7 of my own homes, I have worked on 3 different water plant projects, and I have owned two businesses. I have a range of experiences and education, which I feel the community can benefit from.

What is your vision for the future of healthcare in Petersburg, and how would you use an Assembly seat to support that vision?

I hope to be a part of updating equipment, (EGR Equipment). Possibly being able to add new services like an MRI machine, an anesthesiologist and for new services to be offered to our community members.

What should the borough do to improve access to affordable housing in Petersburg?

Housing is not a taxpayer issue. Land development should be done by private companies and the Borough should be releasing lots to be sold.

Please provide a brief statement on any borough topic of interest to you?

Petersburg is too small of a community to be divided, as the rest of the country has become. Lets build responsibly!

Jeff Meucci

What is your age? I am 68 years old.

Why have you chosen to run for Assembly at this time?

I have several unfinished projects on the Borough Assembly that I would like to continue working on. Some of those projects are listed below. I am committed to working hard to keep Petersburg a great place to live and raise a family.

What experience do you have that prepares you for this role?

I have served on Parks and Recreation board, served as a city council member for 1990 thru 1995, served as city mayor from 1995 thru 1999, Borough Assembly member from 2017 to present.

What is your vision for the future of healthcare in Petersburg, and how would you use an Assembly seat to support that vision?

My vision for the future of healthcare in Petersburg is that I see a transition from a basic level of care facility to a critical access hospital that is providing essential specialized care while still providing services that the community has depended on for years. I am using my assembly seat to support the hospital board's vision of building a new facility, while continuing to ask questions about the cost of the new facility and making sure that the property owners and neighbors of the new facility are being listened to regarding their concerns.

What should the borough do to improve access to affordable housing in Petersburg?

Improving access to affordable housing in Petersburg: Sell more borough land, work with other agencies to assist them in property development. Work with private enterprise to help with affordable entry level housing. The borough should also be creative with property tax structures to encourage building.

Please provide a brief statement on any borough topic of interest to you?

Follow up on recommendations from the early childhood education task force and the housing task force. Follow up and implement the recommendations that the borough's insurance carrier (APEI) has suggested. The report looked at the Human Resources procedures and the safety procedures of the borough. Continue the discussions with the State of Alaska to take control of the Papkes Landing boat launch, docks and lands adjacent to it. Continue funding the school system so they can provide a quality education for our children. Make sure that we take care of our community members,especially the children and the elderly. Continue to explore ways to increase our volunteers in the Fire/EMS/SAR branches. Look at ways that the borough can offer incentives to attract new members.

Jeigh Stanton Gregor

What is your age? 46

Why have you chosen to run for Assembly at this time?

I chose to run for the Assembly because I believe our community deserves honest and dedicated leaders. I bring honesty and integrity to the job. I see our hospital, schools, harbors, housing and childcare, as top priorities in the coming years and I want to ensure all are supported by the Assembly. The hospital, schools, and harbors are CRITICAL pieces to our community being successful in the long term and I will do my best to advocate for them if I am elected to the Assembly. Without available/affordable housing and childcare it will be very challenging to keep working families in our community. I have always believed in transparency; I encourage anyone to go to the assembly archives and you will notice I always made it a point to explain my decision making process before I voted.

What experience do you have that prepares you for this role?

I served 8.5 years on the assembly; about half of which was in the role of Vice Mayor. I have worked well with both Senators Murkowski and Sullivan. I enjoy learning from people with different view points than my own, and I am willing to change my mind when presented with new information. Perhaps most importantly, I believe it is critical for any public servant to be patient, deliberate, and full of empathy for others...I try to do all of these things so that I may be a good role model for my children.

What is your vision for the future of healthcare in Petersburg, and how would you use an Assembly seat to support that vision?

Although I could elaborate at great length on this topic I will be brief here and anyone can contact me for a more nuanced answer: If elected, I will work as hard as I can to support our hospital board, our hospital CEO, and the hospital staff to move forward on the construction of a new facility as has been outlined by the hospital board. I think it is imperative to maintain local control of our healthcare facility in Petersburg. Without a thriving hospital many local jobs will be lost and we will not have a thriving community.

What should the borough do to improve access to affordable housing in Petersburg?

The continued sale of borough land for development is a good first step. Teaming up with agencies such as PIA for development opportunities is critical. As our local housing task force continues to seek solutions, it will be important to consider those recommendations as well.

Please provide a brief statement on any borough topic of interest to you?

There are many I feel are important but I will close by advocating for our schools. Our public school system is led by Superintendent Erica Kludt Painter, her leadership team, the teachers, paraprofessionals, and support staff. As an assembly person I will work to give necessary funding to the district so that those who educate our children can have the resources they need to do their jobs well and have a salary that allows them to raise their own kids in our community. I hope we can all agree on the importance of properly funding education in our community.

If anyone wants to discuss any borough issues with me before voting, feel free to call or text me at 406-202-0576 or email me at jeighgregor@hotmail.com.

Rob Schwartz

What is your age? I'm 57 years old.

Why have you chosen to run for Assembly at this time?

I've been asked to run by many people who believe I would represent them well. The older I get the less it's about me. We're facing many challenges, and we need to face them together. I'd like Petersburg to remain a special place for people to call home.

What experience do you have that prepares you for this role?

My family has been in Petersburg for over a century, and I've learned many lessons regarding what it takes survive and thrive in a remote Alaskan island town. Commercial fishing has been a way of life for me since I was three-weeks-old on my family's gillnet boat. At 12, I began working for other skippers and began running my own boat at 19. I'm still a fisherman. That experience has been challenging, but rewarding. I served the community as a public school teacher and wrestling coach in Petersburg for 26 years having the opportunity to work with young people, parents, a lot of great teachers and administrators. That experience gave me another valuable perspective and taught me many important life lessons. In January of 2020, my family started a tour business called Seek Alaska Tours, and I began learning what it takes to survive in that industry while, at the same time, realizing the importance of maintaining the small town culture that makes Petersburg unique. I'm not sure I am prepared for this role because I'm not a politician. However, I'm hoping a lifetime of "adapt and overcome" experiences in both the private and public sector, being a parent and grandparent, and sincerely caring about the future of our home town might help.

What is your vision for the future of healthcare in Petersburg, and how would you use an Assembly seat to support that vision?

This question reminds me of a slogan used a superintendent when I was teaching: "Imagine, believe, achieve." I responded to him: "I don't think you know how much I can imagine." Ultimately, there is what we can imagine and what we can realistically achieve. Our town is blessed to have well-trained volunteer First Responders, a clinic and hospital staff that does all they can to serve the health and well-being of our people, and a medivac system that can transport people to specialists when needed. My family currently ranges from grandkids under two years old to parents in their 80's; we all need Petersburg's Medical Center for a variety of reasons. The hospital's website reports they have completed a community needs assessment and is working to meet those needs. There is room for improvement in any system. I'd like to openly discuss, as a community, a long-term plan that meets our many needs along with a budget for costs, including operating and maintenance that can be sustained over time. The citizens of Petersburg should fully understand the long-term financial obligation to any of our community projects as we address our needs as we move forward. Additionally, since we're on the topic of health and wellness, let me address "the elephant in the room". There should be an open and honest community discussion regarding the mask and vaccines mandates enacted (some would say imposed) as a response to COVID19. To many, it was the most divisive time in Petersburg history, and a review of this may help rebuild trust between the Borough Assembly, the Petersburg Medical Center, our school system and the residents of Petersburg.

What should the borough do to improve access to affordable housing in Petersburg?

Cooperation between our borough government and the private sector will continue to be important. For example, Sig and Ambre Burrell took a proposal to the borough this week that would open up 40 lots with roads, water, and sewer as well as options for manufactured homes. This will help solve some of our affordable land and housing needs for hard working, middle income people. To be successful, it will require some clear communication and cooperation. It will also require some patience from our fellow citizens. In addition, the "Local Lumber Use Exemption" bill was signed into law on August 30th allowing for personal use, locally milled lumber to be used to build a home. That lumber will be acceptable for home loans from banks. These are two examples of how the public and private sectors can work together toward the common goal of affordable housing for our friends and family members in Petersburg.

Please provide a brief statement on any borough topic of interest to you:

Living in a remote Alaskan island community is a unique experience and has a profound influence on our culture. Many of us in Petersburg had parents, grandparents and great grandparents who faced hardships and overcame challenges as they worked together to build this town. I can't imagine it was easy living through two world wars and an economic depression while, at the same time, trying to provide for a family. As we face new challenges, I hope we can treat each other respectfully, listen and hear each other's opinions and perspectives, and ultimately work toward achieving some common goals. I don't imagine it will be easy. Let's face our challenges with love and courage rather than fear and cowardice. God bless you and your families.

 

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