Julie Kavanaugh is ready to be a part of the borough’s political process, she said.
Kavanaugh has lived in Kodiak for 35 years, raised four kids and worked as a commercial fisherman, florist and currently as manager of her family’s fishing business. She is now hoping for a seat on the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly.
“I have always been interested in participating in politics, especially at the local level,” she said. “I now have time in my life to do that. My kids are all grown and raising families of their own, and I’m just in a position to dedicate the time and energy that I believe it would take to be a good member of the assembly.”
Kavanaugh said she looks forward to working with the assembly on issues that are currently on the table, including measures to bring down the cost of living on the island, particularly housing costs.
In the longterm, Kavanaugh said she wants to focus on improving Kodiak’s economy, a goal she will carry into the budgeting process.
“We’re legally obligated to fund certain aspects of the budget, and then from there on we need to look at everything and decide where it fits into the community and what community values as a whole,” she said.
In making budget decisions, Kavanaugh said it is important for each expenditure to “look at it in a really mindful way and determine whether it’s a nicety, or a necessity, or something that’s going to grow our economy, and then base our decisions off of the answers we get to those three questions.”
A manager of her family’s fishing business, Kavanaugh said she became active in fisheries politics about 22 years ago, particularly on ground fisheries issues and salmon management. She has served on the Kodiak Advisory Committee, a local group that makes recommendations to state boards including the Board of Fisheries, for 10 years and is currently vice chair.
“I really am interested in the fisheries aspect of our community. I think it’s one of the mainstays and possibly the backbone of the community that provides for not only jobs directly, but indirectly,” she said. “I’m an advocate for strong community access to resources.”
She is also a supporter of nonprofits and community organizations. Kavanaugh serves on the board of the Kodiak Rodeo and State Fair and is a 4-H leader, and said she supports other local nonprofits.
“I find that to be a very, very important part of our community and want to continue to support that however I can,” she said.
Finally, Kavanaugh said she wants to be open to borough residents.
“I want to engage with not just the assembly, but with community members directly,” she said. “I think that an assembly member should go out into the community, make themselves accessible.”
This includes visiting the villages, she said.