KYUK is continuing its series of profiles on candidates for Bethel City Council. Today, KYUK’s Greg Kim brings us Alyssa Gustafson-Leary. You can listen to Gustafson-Leary’s full "Coffee@KYUK" interview online.
Alyssa Gustafson-Leary is originally from Northern Illinois. After a stint in Anchorage, she moved to Bethel seven years ago to join the Environmental Health Office at the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation, which is where she works today.
Gustafson-Leary has been attending city council meetings more this past year. In “People to be Heard,” she has criticized the council for the compensation ordinance and for not imposing a stricter bottle limit in the alcohol ordinance.
“I’m the kind of person where if you’re unhappy with something, I have to take action,” Gustafson-Leary said. “I need to try at least to make it better.”
She has served on the Public Works Committee since 2017, and eventually became the co-chair.
“I almost wish it was a prerequisite that to be on council you have to have already been or served on a committee or commission, because it’s a group that relies on you being there,” Gustafson-Leary said. “If everybody doesn’t show up, you can’t meet. You just kind of wasted peoples’ time.”
In the Public Works Committee, Gustafson-Leary has worked with the Solid Waste Department to hang signs on dumpsters to explain what items are prohibited and when you can drop them off at the dump.
“I think it’s really important to work with the staff and employees and departments at the city that we have, rather than coming in with the attitude of 'drain the swamp and come in and fire everyone,'” Gustafson-Leary said. “Bethel’s small. We have to work with the people that we have here.”
Alyssa Gustafson-Leary says another thing that she wants to do if she’s elected is to revive the Bethel Alcohol Task Force.