Ask the Candidate: Karen Deaton Perry

Karen Deaton Perry. Photo courtesy of Karen Deaton Perry

Candidate for Cordova City Council Seat D
Challenger, running against Melina Meyer

Job: Owner of Kayak Cafe

Public service: Volunteer with Cordova 4H Music Camp, volunteer at Homeport café

Education: Associate’s degree, Prince William Sound Community College

The city closed a more than $1 million funding gap by making deep cuts to several departments. How well did the city council handle the challenges of the 2021 budget?

Anytime we are able to balance the budget is a win! However, I would like to address the fact that balancing a budget is not always about how many cuts we can make, but how we can generate more revenue. We need a long-term fix to our funding problems, we need a sustainable foundation upon which we can build a healthy economy.

As a business owner, budgets are an issue I deal with regularly. I can only cut my need for supplies and equipment so far before my services begin to decline. The saying goes, “You are only as good as the tools you use”. What balances a budget better than anything else is finding creative ways where we can generate more revenue with what we already have. The generic response, cut the budget or raise taxes, is not our only solution. We can incentivize businesses to open all year long which would cause long-term economic growth. This is just one idea of many that would help to heal our sick economy. In my own business, I have succeeded at balancing a budget through many hardships such as the ongoing global pandemic, the lack of ferry service, and the population decrease during the winter season. This is due in large part to the support that you have given to me and I know will be given to others doing the same. I would love to bring my business-oriented mindset to the city council to help us balance our budget.

How would you like to see the city adjust its coronavirus response?

I am extremely proud of how resilient and thoughtful our beautiful town has combated every hardship the pandemic brought our way. In the future, I would like us to respond with confidence when it comes to our economy. I would like to help build a post-pandemic economy that wins for all of Cordova, not just the big guys.

Should you win, what are you most looking forward to about serving on city council?

I am excited to help the dreamers of Cordova become doers! Cordova has an incredible spirit of creativity that resides within us, and I would like to start giving those Cordovans the confidence and resources to be successful.

Your opponent, Melina Meyer, is a veteran member of city council, as well as vice mayor. Why should voters select you over her?

Being on the council is a group effort and every member brings a different piece to the puzzle. Currently one of the biggest mountains our town has to climb is a recovery from the economic collapse caused by COVID. Cordova needs a solid plan in place to set us up to win in a post-pandemic economy. And I’m the girl for the job. Two years ago, when I opened up the Kayak Cafe, every statistic said I should have failed multiple times over by now. I have a gift for business that has allowed me to persevere in spite of all the curveballs. We have thrived in spite of irregular ferry service since we opened and a pandemic that shut us down most of quarter two in 2020. In spite of the small hiring pool, I have nine people on staff. We have a beautiful shop, in spite of the work needed to use a historic building. Every curveball thrown, we hit out of the park. Being successful in the midst of a storm takes creative ideas that set Cordova up for success. I’m the best candidate for this seat because the biggest mountain we are facing is one I’ve already climbed.

Your brother, William Deaton, who is the leader of the Republican Party’s local precinct, is a well-known and often polarizing figure in Cordova politics. How has he influenced your approach to participating in politics?

It’s not often that we see a town bring up a mind like William’s. I am constantly amazed by his resilience and his ability to rally so many at such a young age. My little brother has taught me many things on his journey in politics. Being young is often stigmatized as a disqualification in this political culture, William has proven us wrong time and again. His thick skin in the face of extreme criticism and critics is an inspiration, and I commend his steadfastness throughout. And lastly, the most influential thing William has taught me is that doing the right thing is almost never easy, in fact it’s always the hardest path, but to continue walking it gives an inner strength that can’t be found anywhere else. Thank you, Cordova! Get out and vote for Karen Deaton Perry on March 2!

The Cordova General Election will be held Tuesday, March 2 from 7 a.m.-8 p.m. at the Cordova Center, selecting new members of Cordova City Council, the Cordova School Board and the Cordova Community Health Center Authority Board.