Public Media for Alaska's Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Bethel City Council welcomes back former council member and current District 38 Representative Conrad 'CJ' McCormick

Gabby Salgado

There was a familiar guest at the March 28 Bethel City Council Meeting.

Alaska’s District 38 Representative, Conrad "CJ" McCormick, returned to Bethel for the Cama-i Dance Festival and to drop in on the city council meeting. The 25-year-old Democrat and Bethel Regional High School alum was initially nervous, but settled in rather quickly.

“I have to admit, I'm a little nervous, really a big fan of you guys. So if I slip up, I apologize in advance. Super great to be back,” McCormick said.

McCormick, a former council member, said that he was honored to serve along with the rest of the council members. He wanted community members to be aware of the committees he is part of as a state legislator.

“I'm currently sitting on the Education Committee, House and Social Services, Fisheries. And then I'm chairing Tribal Affairs and chairing Community and Regional Affairs,” McCormick said.

McCormick said that the Community and Regional Affairs Committee would be particularly useful for city council leadership to follow.

“We pass a lot of laws out of that committee that relate to municipalities and things of that sort,” McCormick said. 

McCormick also went into the house bills he introduced.

“Like, right now we're hearing HB 84, which has to do with taxing blighted properties. So I think that might be very interesting to you guys,” said McCormick. “Another one that I've introduced is a bill that will eliminate the need for individuals trying to get their CDL Certification. They don't have to have a driver's license for a year. And so I think that would be really helpful, helpful for some of the rural communities, and of course, ours with our struggles with the CDL drivers.”

In a later interview, McCormick said that Bethel City Hall was where he learned the ropes of being a public official.

McCormick’s social media bio notes his youth. He is the youngest and first member of Generation Z to serve in Alaska’s State House. And he wants to see other young people get involved.

“I just think it's really critical that young people run for office and seek office,” McCormick said. “You know, it's kind of disappointing that, like, I think myself and Representative [Sophie] Swope are the, like, only young people who have been on this council for a really long time.”

McCormick is using his platform to encourage the next generation.

“I was just at the school today, talking to students and hopefully convincing them that, look, like, I'm 25. I don't have a college degree, right? I'm just a couple years out of dropping out of college. I'm very young, and I thought that they should run for office,” McCormick said. “And so yeah, just whatever I can do to kind of highlight the successes of young leaders and encourage more young people to get involved in the process.”

McCormick will return to Juneau before the end of March.

Francisco Martínezcuello was the KYUK News Reporting Fellow from November 2022 through January 2024. He is a graduate of UC Berkeley School of Journalism. He is also a veteran of the United States Marine Corps.