Editor’s note: The Daily News-Miner continues its series of stories looking at the candidates and issues on the Oct. 2 municipal election ballots.
FAIRBANKS — Two candidates are seeking Fairbanks City Council Seat B, which is being vacated by Chad Roberts, who has reached his term limit. They are Perry Walley, general manager of five Fairbanks radio stations, and Nicholas Bowen, a sales employee at Alaska Rubber and Rigging.
Both are first-time candidates for political office.
Originally from Flint, Mich., Bowen came to Alaska with the Air Force and worked in the security forces, the Air Force’s military police. Ten years ago, he decided to stay in Fairbanks because he liked the community.
Bowen said he’s running for office because he’s worried Fairbanks is becoming less of a community where people are willing to help each other. Doing more to help young people is his top priority.
“I want to see Fairbanks get back to caring more about the youth,” he said. “I want to see us partner up with the Boys and Girls Home. I want to see us actually do an at-risk youth program. We have more youth coming in from the villages all the time, and they just get left to the wayside.”
More focus on the young doesn’t necessarily mean more spending, he said, because the city could work with other organizations and give organizations better access to city buildings.
He said his work history and willingness to help others makes him a good candidate.
“I’m blue collar, I believe in honest hard work,” he said. “If somebody has an issue they think the council can fix and they want to call me at four in the morning, call me at four in the morning. There’s a reason why council members’ telephone numbers are public knowledge.”
Both the radio business and municipal politics run in the family of Perry Walley.
Walley is the son of Bill Walley, Fairbanks’ mayor from 1982 to 1988. He is general manager of Last Frontier Mediactive, a family business that now owns five Fairbanks radio stations.
The younger Walley was born in Juneau and grew up in Fairbanks. He was in school in Cumberland, Ky., when his father died, and he was called back to run what was then a group of three stations.
Besides answering late-night citizen calls for his father, Walley has not been involved in politics before, but he said he thinks he has the disposition for the job.
“It’s a commitment that requires homework, and I’m willing to do that,” he said. “A lot of time people get into these offices and don’t spend a lot of time on the issues. I’m the type of person that gets right into it.”
He had good things to say about the city’s current council and administration and said he wants to follow their lead on the budget.
“I think the city has done a fantastic job with its finances. Achieving debt-free status was a pretty good task that was completed,” he said. “I want to continue that fiscal responsibility that the city has been doing the last couple years.”
Contact staff writer Sam Friedman at 459-7545.