The City of Bethel now has bragging rights over every other town in Alaska. Last week, Bethel City Clerk Lori Strickler was named Municipal Employee of the Year by Alaska Municipal League.
When Lori Strickler heard about her award, she was surprised and confused.
“What did I do to get recognized?” Strickler thought.
Grant Manager John Sargent was the one who nominated Strickler. He says that it was for the work she does outside her job description.
“She’s always looking for the next thing. I mean, going way beyond her scope of responsibility,” Sargent said.
This past year, she expanded the “Kids Vote” program to all Bethel schools. Through that election, students named the new field by Yuut Elitnaurviat, “Big Dipper Field.” At Kuskokwim Learning Academy, she registered fresh 18-year-olds to vote. She also set up voting booths in the long-term care facility and Ayalpik Apartments to bring voting to Elders. Overall voter turnout increased from 21% in 2018 to 33% in 2019. Sargent said that was largely due to Strickler.
“I mean, she’s made it a personal campaign to go out and improve voting,” Sargent said.
“Well, I had a lot of support,” Strickler deflected.
While Strickler is quick to share credit with her coworkers at the city, she says that it is motivating to know that people appreciate the work she does. When she heard news of her award, she fought to hold back tears.
Strickler says that the next thing on her plate is continuing to move city records online. She admits that doesn’t sound like much fun, but making government transparent and accessible to the public is something Strickler has been recognized for caring about deeply.