Ask the Candidate: Aaron Hansen

Center, Aaron Hansen. Clockwise, from top, Gravina, Teal and Katella Hansen.

Candidate for Cordova School Board

Job: Power plant operator, Cordova Electric Cooperative; parent

Public service: Cordova Amateur Youth Athletic Corporation board member, worked with the Parks and Rec Department and Cordova School District to plan and participate in the adult basketball league, participated in the planning of the Cordova Iceworm Festival sports tournaments

Education: General Maintenance Technician certification from Southwest Alaska Vocational and Technical Center


How would you like to see the school district adjust its coronavirus response?
I think Cordova has done a great job as far as getting students into the classroom and consistently stayed open throughout the winter. At this point, I would like to see school’s after-school programs/sports return to near-normal.

Other than dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, what is the school district’s biggest task for the coming year?
I think we need to focus on filling the gap that was created when past city managers and city council cut funding to youth programing positions in the Parks and Rec Department. I would also like to push for after-school programs that offer positive mentorship to a diverse demographic of kids.

What sets you apart from your opponents in this race?
I think I bring an entirely different point of view that would be beneficial to the board. Those who have had a childhood like mine are not normally running for the school board. I went to seven different schools in three different states from my fourth grade year to my junior year. Sports, after-school programs, and those that facilitated them are the only reason I stayed in school. They gave me the stability and consistency I was not getting at home. I think my hardships and unique perspective could really benefit children who need advocating for and relating to.

What can schools do to promote good mental health among students?
Social interaction. It is necessary for a child’s psycho-social development. One of my main focuses will be finding a way to safely get more social interaction and encourage kids to get involved. Statistics show the devastation and toll that these lockdowns have brought to our nation. Alaska leads the U.S. in suicides, youth being No. 1. Since the beginning of COVID to December 2020, we have experienced a huge spike in suicides, depression and abuse. I think that after-school programs and sports need to be addressed and focused on, especially to help the kids who need these extracurricular activities to stay mentally and emotionally healthy and to have a healthy outlet. The youth of our community lack outlets that I believe to be very necessary.

Identify one previous decision by the school board that you disagree with, and explain why.
I do not agree with the decision of the school district to follow ASAA’s mask requirement for youth sports. I think wearing a mask during practice should be left up to parents and students. I have been told by medical health professionals that masks should not be worn while participating in sports. I did three physical therapy sessions while wearing a mask and had extreme headaches for the remainder of the day. Clubs around the state have figured out ways to safely have youth sports and after-school programs. We are a small community. I don’t feel like we fit into the same category as these large schools who are actively playing competitively against other school districts. We have very few kids participating and none are traveling. I believe that mask wearing during practice is unnecessary, especially when there is very little, or no community spread.