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Non-partisanship and consensus-building are alive and well in Fairbanks

I am grateful for the widespread support for my candidacy for Assembly Seat G. My donors hail from both sides of the aisle which proves that bipartisanship and collaboration are still alive and well in this community. My top priorities focus on services to our residents and local businesses that will continue to improve our quality of life and attract families and visitors for a very long time.

Despite my opponent Lance Robert’s vitriolic claims to the contrary, nonpartisan is the predominant Alaskan “party.” Currently, 144,249 Alaska voters are registered Republicans, 78,946 are registered Democrats, and a whopping 340,861 are registered nonpartisans. The nonpartisans represent over 57% of all Alaskan voters. An additional 18,947 are registered Alaskan Independents and 11,149 are registered with other political groups. As a registered nonpartisan, I think many can relate to my choice of voter registration.

I have more than 300 individual donors, among them: three former borough mayors (Karl Kassel, Luke Hopkins and Jim Sampson); the chair of the board of Foundation Health Partners (which operates Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, Tanana Valley Clinic and Denali Center) Jeff Cook; small business owners; unions; and hundreds of borough residents. Residents of this borough value actions to improve the community over obstruction mired in hot-button national issues. My opponent represents a narrow mindset that impedes progress and growth, while I’m willing to work with people from all walks of life without condemning them for holding different viewpoints.

In 2017, my opponent favored shutting down locally-owned small businesses in Fairbanks, a referendum attempt that failed with nearly 71% voting “no” and only 29% voting “yes.” These cannabis businesses brought in $1.7 million in revenue to Fairbanks last year and are overwhelmingly supported by the community.

My top priorities as an assembly member will be to support locally owned businesses, quality K-12 education, parks and recreational activities and infrastructure (including our wonderful trail system), and the borough tax cap. I value the presence of the military, UAF and the visitor industry. Our community depends on them. We need to provide the services they require to attract families and professionals to our borough.

I have lived in our borough for the last 30 years, all of them near the dog mushing trails in Two Rivers. I know the importance of road service areas, transfer stations and good neighborhood schools.

Most issues at the local level are not progressive or conservative, Republican or Democrat. They are Fairbanks-area issues. All residents use and enjoy borough services regardless of party affiliation. Do road service area commissioners care about the political leanings of their neighbors before filling potholes? Do librarians at the Noel Wien Public Library ask your political persuasion before checking out your book? The fact is, this borough relies on our ability to work together to provide services for all residents.

A clarification: In his Sept. 29 Community Perspective, my opponent incorrectly stated that I advocated breaking the law at the local League of Women Voters forum last Friday. Perhaps he couldn’t hear my comment because his supporters were loudly booing, jeering and heckling me from their seats. I was asked if I support a mask or vaccine mandate in the borough. I correctly stated that, as a second-class borough, the FNSB has limited health powers, especially without a declaration of emergency, which we don’t have. The bottom line is that it isn’t possible to mandate these things at the borough level. I did share dismay at the behavior of some people who denigrate doctors, nurses and other public health experts.

I’m a problem-solver who believes in bipartisanship and collaboration. Vote for Kristan Kelly for Assembly Seat G if you want a reasonable, thoughtful independent on the borough assembly. Remember assembly elections are area-wide. No matter where you live in the borough, you can vote for me.

Kristan Kelly is a 30-year Fairbanks resident, teacher and counselor running for Assembly Seat G. She lives in Two Rivers.

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