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Politics

Eric Whitney Is Running For Bethel City Council

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Olivia Ebertz
/
KYUK

KYUK is running a series of profiles on Bethel City Council candidates ahead of the Oct. 5 election. There are six candidates running for four open seats. Each seat is for a two-year term. KYUK municipal reporter Olivia Ebertz spoke to candidate Eric Whitney about his priorities for the city. 

  

 

Whitney wants to make Bethel a more fun and safer place to live. Whitney served one term on the Bethel City Council about a decade ago. He has called Bethel home for nearly 23 years and has done a lot of volunteer work along the way. He builds the tripod for the Kuskokwim Ice Classic, has volunteered for Bethel Community Services Foundation, runs the fireworks display for the Kuskokwim 300 Sled Dog Race, and works with his church’s Friday night meal program. 

 

Whitney said that his priorities as a councilmember are building trails and making roadways more accessible for pedestrians and recreators, as well as supporting the public safety of Bethel.

 

During his interview with KYUK and during the KYUK Bethel City Council candidate forum, Whitney also voiced his support for the city of Bethel’s recent move to require vaccinations for all employees. Whitney said that Bethel has been doing a good job being “proactive” with its pandemic mitigation strategies. 

 

“I would agree with the efforts to require our police officers to be vaccinated. If you're out to protect and serve the public, if you have a reliable method of doing that, such as a vaccine that will limit the spread and reduce the severity of any illness, that should be taken advantage of,” said Whitney.

 

If he has one criticism of the current council, it’s that he thinks they can spend more time listening to their constituents. Whitney said that he intends to do that. 

 

Energy efficiency is another issue close to Whitney’s heart. For a while, he ran a business conducting energy ratings on homes, and he sat on the now disbanded city energy committee during his prior city council term. He said that as a councilmember, he’d like to focus on developing energy-efficient affordable housing for residents. 

 

“We could develop new housing or encourage development of new sustainable housing, housing that's energy efficient enough so that it's not expensive to live in, doesn't cost that much to heat. And maybe, possibly looking at old neighborhood developments that have failed and revisiting those, like Haroldson. There's a lot of property out there,” said Whitney. 

 

Whitney said that voters should pick him for city council because he has council experience and wants to, in his words, move Bethel forward. 

The municipal election will be on Oct. 5, and early voting has already begun. You can listen to the full interview with Eric Whitney here, and to the entire Bethel City Council Candidates Forum here.

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