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8/20/2019
Step up — run for School Board

EDITOR, Daily News:

A conflicting personal commitment has arisen that will make me unable to fulfill the duties required of a Ketchikan School Board member for the three-year term. I say this with some regret.

I thank the School Board for allowing me this opportunity. Getting to know our public officials, borough and district leadership and staff, teachers, parents, and students in our unique community was a deeply satisfying and enjoyable experience. I feel good that I was able to make a positive contribution as chair of the health insurance task force and participant in the development of a much-needed strategic plan. More importantly, I was able to be part of a group of people working to improve the climate of cooperation among the borough, district administrators, board and unions.

We have a lot of work to do in a challenging time when it seems the basic services and core institutions of our state are under attack. I feel our role as public officials is to build things rather than tear them down, or relinquish our responsibilities to manage and provide services. It is easier to tear something down than to build it up.

I apologize also for the timing and am a little embarrassed to have to flip-flop here. It would have been better to make this decision before filing opened August 1, but it is better I do it now than have to quit mid-term. Even though I myself was appointed, its best for these seats to be filled by vote of the community than by a decision of the board.

 I urge anyone in the community who has considered serving as a School Board member to do so and file now. I also would say, even if you don't have a long history here, or are a young person, but are interested in being part of this wonderful community, step up. The process of running for elected office is relatively simple at this level, the filing paperwork is simple and straightforward. The time and work commitment for board members only averages a few hours a week. Get your name out there, get to know current officials and school district people. Borough staff are friendly and helpful. There is time left to file. Your community needs you.

TOM HEUTTE

Ketchikan