Sandra Katelnikoff-Lester is running for the assembly because wants to see change in the borough.
According to Katelnikoff-Lester, codes should be reviewed and updated as necessary.
“I don’t think that our system is broken but I do think that we can fix it and upgrade it to help our residents live better. We don’t want things that are too restrictive,” she said.
Also, she believes communication with the villages needs to increase.
“I feel I could make a difference progressively to facilitate having more representation with the tribal councils and the tribal governments,” she said. “They are governments. They are legal governments, and they should be recognized as such by the borough.”
Katelnikoff-Lester was born on Kodiak Island and spent the first 17 years of her life here, in Karluk, Ouzinkie, Larsen Bay and Kodiak.
Katelnikoff-Lester did not like the school in Kodiak, and so she left at age 17 for the Seward School Center, where she received her GED and a certificate in secretarial studies.
After that, she went of to earn a bachelor’s degree from the University of Phoenix and a slew of certifications, many related to social work and treatment of chemical dependency.
She has worked as a clerk for the city of Larsen Bay, as a counselor for the Kodiak Area Native Association, and for Child Protective Services.
She has also served on the Larsen Bay Tribal Council. She now partners with her husband in their vending service business.
“I really believe that I have enough education and experience to go out there and work with the public to be creative and constructive and to help communities grow and prosper,” she said. “I feel that I have the necessary qualifications to look at a situation and to pick it apart and try to find some answers.”
Katelnikoff-Lester said the ability of residents “to live well” in the borough is her top priority.
“For us in our communities, that means subsistence and fishing. Those things have to be catered to so we don’t lose what we have and to try and keep the fishing industry from going away. A lot of the money is already made here but lives somewhere else, so those things are things I think about,” she said. Addressing the cost of living and supporting local businesses are also important, according to Katelnikoff-Lester.
“I think about the big companies coming in here and monopolizing the industries so that the people here have to pay more, and we already have such a high, high cost of living,” she said. “I would like to see more individuals develop community-based businesses instead of conglomerates coming in here and taking over the community. I think I appreciate that they do come here, but also we need to take care and always remember to support our local businesses and our local business owners.”
Finally, Katelnikoff-Lester wants to ensure the assembly is accessible to the public, and said that, if elected, she will make herself available to talk about issues within the community.
“I’m there because they put me there, so I will be responding to their needs in that way,” she said.