Continuing our series of profiles on candidates running for seats on the Bethel City Council, here is first-time candidate Haley Hanson. You can listen to the full Coffee@KYUK interview with Hanson online.
Haley Hanson was born and raised in Bethel, and attended Bethel Regional High School and the University of Alaska in Fairbanks. After a 6-month stint in the planning office with current Planning Director Ted Meyer, she realized that her true path was education. She is currently back at BRHS in her second year of teaching. Hanson says that she decided to run for city council after observing the way the current council operates.
“I think the current city council, the climate is not representative of our community,” Hanson said. “I think there’s been a lot of infighting, a lot of non-cooperation, and I don’t think that represents Bethel.”
Hanson thinks that the current issues are created by a lack of decorum among council members.
“Whether you have issues with someone on the council or not, you have to find a way to be professional in how you conduct yourself and how you carry out the process of listening to the community. Working with other council members and putting aside your own interests for the good of Bethel,” Hanson said.
This is Hanson’s first bid for city council. She says that her internship in the planning office and working with community members at the school has prepared her for the position. It was at her workplace that Hanson saw what she says is the biggest issue in Bethel: alcohol.
“Seeing students at school that are dealing with it firsthand, we need to get a handle on that,” Hanson said.
Hanson admits she doesn’t have the silver bullet, but she thinks that more community partnerships will help.
“Whether that’s through YKHC, the schools, the city, so that people aren’t siloed off, trying to tackle these big issues by themselves,” Hanson said.
Hanson says that the issue of alcohol isn’t going away. One thing she supports is continuing to re-evaluate the city’s position on alcohol sales. The community will vote again on local option for alcohol this October.