City Council Candidates Bios
Council candidates talk platform before election
With the municipal elections slated for this Tuesday, the nine candidates running for city council were offered the opportunity to talk to voters. This week, we are publishing brief biographies and a statement from each candidate explaining their platform. Each candidate was given 100 words and a few of the statements have been edited for brevity.
Council candidate Doug Davis says he is 68 years young. Davies has a B.S. in industrial management and an A.S. in accounting. He is an engineer at Crowley. He is treasurer for the Valdez Senior Center board of directors.
Statement: During the five years ending in August, school enrollment has declined 9.2 percent. This appears to mirror a general decline in our population. Our economy is tied to tourism, fishing and the pipeline. This has not created a growing economic base to encourage folks to stay and/or locate in Valdez. The City needs to “Think outside the box.” to develop opportunities that encourage folks to make a long term commitment to Valdez, not a seasonal “Grab the money and run!”, seasonal economy. I pledge to work towards spending our tax dollars responsibly while working towards a broadened, year-round economic base.
Ryan McCune was born, raised and live his life in Valdez; he is 40 years of age and lives in Alpine Woods with his wife Gianna and their young son, JonCarlo. Ryan has been an employee of Cablevision / GCI for over 25 years.
Statement: If elected aims to: Stimulate substantial job creation and economic sustainability. Development of “mountain attraction” committee to steer the project. Build a strong international “Valdez” brand and marketing base. Exploring deeper and reinventing our tourism base. Continue and improve a dynamic city master plan. City excess funds are promptly re-invested: no funds shall sit in an inactive investment account. Residential tax breaks and enhanced energy rebate program. Strong contractor oversight: feet on the ground at project sites by council. Ryan McCune has been financially conservative at both his workplace and his personal endeavors.
Robert Mueller, is age 26 and has lived in Valdez three years. He is an inventory control specialist at Petro Star Refinery.
Statement: I have no agenda or special interest in my wanting to be on the council. I merely want to give each issue that’s brought forward the appropriate time and thought needed for solid action. I have come to love Valdez in my short time here. While I’m here I want to help be a good administrator of progress and development. I want the experience of absorbing and experiencing Valdez’s history and culture while at the same time making sure that the community has what it needs to move forward and be an active competitor in Alaska’s economy and tourism industries.
H. Lea Cockerham
Lea Cockerham is 52 years old and has live in Valdez 18 years. He is married to Melissa Cockerham. He is a teacher and athletic director at Valdez High School. His education background includes: B.A. - University of Alabama Birmingham, M.A. - University of Alabama Birmingham, M.Ed. - University of Montevallo, Graduate Certificates (Principal and Superintendent) - University of Alaska Anchorage, M.P.A. and Graduate Certificate (Homeland Security) - Penn State University (in progress)
Statement: My platform will focus on education, health care, and the economy. In many ways they are all tied together. I will support our schools and work to improve our city’s infrastructure. I believe health care is a priority and that we should support the medical center and clinic in any way possible. Economically, we must continue to seek avenues of opportunity and growth. In America our greatest hallmark is that our government is of the people, by the people, and for the people. I will take that to heart. I would be honored to have your vote on May 5.
Dawson Moore, age 44, has lived in Valdez 12 years. He has a BA in Theatre from UAA and is Assistant to the President, PWSCC.
Statement: I consider it a strength that I bring no specific agenda or project to the table, other than wanting Valdez to succeed. I have many years of leadership experience in multiple aspects of my life, and am good at listening to all sides of an argument before forming my opinions. I believe in the power of positive thinking when tackling project, combined with a critical eye directed equally at all sides of an issue. I believe in courteous discourse and respect for other people, particularly ones whose opinions differ from my own.
Roger Kipar is age 47 and moved to Valdez from Salcha in 2000. He is a 1988 graduate of a technical school in Germany, with shipyard competent person with numerous endorsements. He works for RSR contracting/self-employed. He is a currently a commissioner with P & Z.
Statement: I grew up in Europe with a global outlook. I work with most Directors of the COV on Projects, currently volunteering to raise the Gold Creek Bridge. I have identified solutions for this town, which creates a great platform to move forward. I, if you vote me in, will need to hear the voice of Valdez to continue to adapt and improve to help our needs here in this town. I enjoy speaking with the people of Valdez and listen to their concerns, ideas, likes and dislikes. We are all in this together. I am asking for your vote.
Greg Davis has lived in Valdez 14 years and is employed by Amee Bay, LLC as an electronics technician.
Statement: Reduction of our city of Valdez operating budget, bringing a positive position towards growth and downtown beautification plan is the basis of my platform. The idea that oil tax revenue is going allow us to keep overspending without a growing local economy to back up the services is irresponsible. I want to be involved in these discussions and I am willing to put in the time needed to make these informed decisions.
Lon Needles, age 58, is married to his wife Debbie. He says they have lived in Valdez over 28 years. He is a graduate of the Oregon Institute of Technology and is shop foreman for the DOT equipment fleet. He is vice president of Local Union 71 and a gubernatorial appointed member of the Alaska Labor Relations Agency.
Platform: I have a great desire to help maintain the quality of living that we are used to without over extending the city budget. Continued quality education is mandatory. Public safety is mandatory. Increasing our revenue will help to continue these two items of grave concern. Insisting on local hire, encouraging new business growth and strategic budgeting will accomplish these needs.
Alvin Murray said he did not have time fill out the questionnaire.