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8/10/2019
Mattson files candidacy for SB seat

By SCOTT BOWLEN
Daily News Staff Writer

Bridget Mattson has filed as a candidate for one of the two three-year seats available on the Ketchikan School Board in the Oct. 1 municipal election.

Mattson is a current member of the School Board, having served since November when she was appointed by the board to fill a one-year vacancy opened when Board Member Rachel Breithaupt — who had been filling the seat vacated by the resignation of Trevor Shaw in August 2018 — was elected to a three-year term.

Mattson filed her candidacy paperwork on Tuesday, and spoke with the Daily News on Thursday about what prompted her to run.

“I am at the end of my appointed one-year term,” Mattson said Thursday. “I enjoy the work — it's fascinating to me. I feel like I've learned a lot this last year serving on the School Board, and I just want to continue being able to serve and continue to be a part of that board.”

Mattson noted the amount of change in the School Board and Ketchikan School District during the past year, and said that cultivating stability will be important.

“As a lot of changes have happened, I think that promoting stability and promoting the new vision for the school district and the new mission statement — all of those things — will help our education here in Ketchikan to be more successful and productive for the students,” Mattson said.

The School Board also will have to keep an eye on what the State of Alaska is doing with its budgets and funding for local schools, said Mattson. A lot of cuts were proposed this year, with some cuts that are “relatively minor in the broad scheme of things” actually occuring.

“But with the current governor, he is still proposing some pretty massive cuts even to education moving forward, so I think that that's an issue that the board has to constantly be aware of,” Mattson said.

The upcoming election won’t be Mattson’s first campaign for public office. She was a candidate in the 2018 School Board election, placing a close fourth of five candidates in the race for three, three-year seats available then.

The 2018 election experience was a positive one for Mattson.

“It was really great,” she said. “I felt like we had a lot of people come out —and a lot of people that brought different backgrounds and education and skills to the table, and it was really great to be a part of that campaign.”

Since the November appointment, Mattson said she really has enjoyed being part of the current board and serving with the people who are on it.

“I think it's great,” she said. “The more people that get involved in community service and in governing bodies, the better for our community.”

As of Friday, Mattson and School Board Member Tom Heutte are the candidates for the two three-year seats open in the upcoming election. No candidate has filed for the one one-year seat that’s available.

Mattson also spoke Thursday about the importance of voting.

“As a community, the education of our youth is one of the most important things that we can invest in,” she said. “ And so I would just really encourage everyone to vote, and to have a voice, because it really does make a difference.”