Ask the Candidate: Ken Jones

Ken Jones, center, with wife Shannon and son Evan. Photo courtesy of Ken Jones

Candidate for Cordova City Council Seat E
Challenger, running against Anne Schaefer

Job: Small business owner in the areas of commercial fishing, vessel charter work, oil spill response and rental property management

Public service: Cordova City Council member, Harbor Commission member, Cordova District Fishermen United board member, Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corporation board member, Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corporation executive committee member and alternate, Cordova Comprehensive Plan Committee member

Education: Attended courses at University of Alaska Anchorage and Prince William Sound Community College in information technology, accounting, business management and mathematics; U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Near Coastal Master license through Alaska Nautical School; single-engine fixed-wing private pilot license through Land and Sea Aviation Alaska

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?

If I recall they only anticipated a $1 million funding gap, due to potential state cuts and estimating fish tax down. As more information came in neither of these were anticipated to happen, they were able to pass a balanced budget by raising those line items back up. As for deep cuts, the hospital received what they asked for, to fund a fuel tank, far less than recent years because they received covid money and didn’t ask the city for as much. The school got a slight cut with assurance they would reevaluate before the start of the schools FY22 once they had knowledge of what the governor’s budget and fish tax would be. I will support raising this back up. They proposed a cut to the police department but eventually backed away from it. If you ask me, they pushed the panic button a little early in the process, they proposed a bunch of cuts, ultimately they came out at the end with a balanced budget by adding those items back in and not following through with the proposed cuts.

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

I would like to see us continue the push for voluntary vaccinations, I do not want to see any mandates or lockdown measures coming into this fishing season. I plan to work hard on getting businesses re-opened and returning to a pre-COVID society as a higher percentage of our population becomes vaccinated. I would like to see the city have the capacity to offer incoming fisherman and cannery workers vaccinations as they come into town this spring, if the supply is available.

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

I look forward to continue pushing for harbor repair, shipyard development, and tax incentives for businesses. I will continue the work of my first term. I have the tenacity and knowledge to see the harbor project through. I also would like to get the city back to the comprehensive plan that we spent an entire year developing. Cost of living was a big community priority, and I believe the property tax incentive plan I have been pushing for two years now, will help spur some solutions to our housing shortage that has driven cost of living higher than the national average.

Your opponent, Anne Schaefer, is one of Cordova’s most active citizens, having served not only on city council, but also as a volunteer with numerous community groups. Why should voters select you over her?

One could argue that I have been every bit as active, if not more active than she has been. I was already serving various roles on both non-profit boards and city commissions when she moved here. My public service has been centered around promoting and protecting Cordovas main economic driver, which is paramount to the future of this town. I have sacrificed countless amounts of time and spent thousands of my own money to year after year attend Board of Fish meetings across the state to advocate for our community, fleets, and future. I could easily snow bird away like many other fishermen do, but I have made a conscious choice to stay here and fight to protect Cordova and all that we hold dear. As a parent raising a family here, a business owner creating jobs here, a property owner on the hook for the tax payments, and as a third generation Cordovan with strong long standing family ties to this community I bring perspective to the table that my opponent does not. With that in mind, I believe my investment and commitment to the future of our community is far greater than that of my opponents.

When you lost reelection to Council Seat B in 2020, you said you were relieved to be able to spend more time with your family and working on your business. Why go back to a council position that would take you away from those things?

In my mind, my job as a policy advocate is still not finished, as the harbor still sits in shambles. I never intended to be done serving our community, and am thankful for being able to take the last year to focus on family. We just welcomed our newest addition this past November and I wouldn’t trade that time for anything. Over the last year I have had an immense number of people urging me to run again. Some didn’t vote last spring and were apologetic, thinking there was no way I would lose re-election. Maybe this coupled with having another child helped to solidify in my mind what I am fighting for with this time commitment. I’m doing this to leave Cordova a more flourishing and prosperous place for our children to grow up in. Cordova needs a strong pro-fisheries advocate on the City Council, and I will be that voice. Please vote for Kenneth Jones on March 2 for Council Seat E.

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.