The Alaska Sea Party is gearing up for the special Coastal Management election, including bringing in a new co-chairwoman for the organization.
Leading the group along with Juneau Mayor Bruce Botelho will be Terzah Tippin Poe, who arrived at the group’s Juneau campaign headquarters Monday.
“The coasts of Alaska are important for all Alaskans, not just for subsistence, which is near and dear to my heart since I’m an Inupiat Eskimo and my family is from the North Slope and depends on our oceans and the food we get from it, but also many of our economic development opportunities are from around Alaska’s coasts,” she said.
When the Legislature didn’t renew the long-standing program that gave Alaskans a voice in federal action in coastal waters, along with coordinating the sometimes numerous or overlapping permitting processes, coastal officials formed the Alaska Sea Party to push for a ballot measure that would ask the people to reestablish the program using the initiative process.
The initiative was started by Botelho, along with Mayor Jerome Selby of the Kodiak Island Borough and Assembly Member Mako Haggerty of the Kenai Peninsula Borough. It qualified for the ballot in a mid-winter signature gathering effort.
Had the Legislature adopted a Coastal Management program similar to the one proposed in the initiative, the election wouldn’t have been necessary, but when it adjourned without taking action, the Sea Party began preparing for an election.
That included bringing Poe on for the campaign, but she said it was an easy choice to make.
“When I realized that we did not have a say in the management of our on coast through a management program, I became very concerned as an Alaskan,” she said.
Botelho welcomed her to the campaign.
“With Terzah’s energy, experience and passion for the issues, she’s ready to hit the ground running,” he said.
Poe’s new position brings her back to Juneau, where she spent time as a child, attending both Glacier Valley Elementary and Floyd Dryden Middle schools.
She has also lived in Juneau as an adult with her husband, former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bob Poe, as he served staff positions in the Legislature and for several governors.
Also joining the campaign team are Alida Bus as director and Alexei Painter as deputy director. Bus was recently chief of staff for Sen. Dennis Egan, D-Juneau, while Painter worked for Rep. Reggie Joule, D-Kotzebue. Both grew up in Juneau.
“Alida and Alexei bring campaign experience, intimate knowledge of the issue and a tremendous work ethic” to the campaign, Botelho said.
The election the campaign team is working towards is the Aug. 28 primary. Poe said one of the main challenges will simply to get people to the polls.
Poe said she’s confident the public supports Alaska having a say in federal activities on the coast.
“The message we need to get out most strongly is that we really need people to get out and vote,” she said. “This is a critically important program for all Alaskans, not just in Southeast.”
• Contact reporter Pat Forgey at 523-2250 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.