JUNEAU, Alaska (KINY) -Two back-to-back Action Line programs that aired at the beginning of this week delved into the details of all the current candidates for Juneau's School Board.
Kevin Allen and Dan DeBartolo were guests on the program Monday, while Jason Hart and Steve Whitney joined the discussion with host Pete Carran on Tuesday.
In each case, the given candidate was asked about their respective background.
Dan DeBartolo was director for the Permanent Fund Dividend Division beginning in 2012.
"I had actually worked for the Permanent Fund Division since 2008," stated DeBartolo. "That's about how long I've been in Juneau, about eight-and-a-half years now. Of that time, I've had about eight years total of public administration experience, both as director for the PFD program, and now as the admin services director for the Department of Revenue. Primarily, I'm responsible for budget. But, my motivations for being a school board representative deal first with my kids."
Jason Hart currently works for HECLA Green's Creek Mining in town as a contract administrator. Hart, who ran an unsuccessful campaign for School Board last year, has a son attending 5th grade at Mendenhall River Community School and has been involved in youth athletics for the past five to six years.
"I've coached Little League and the Midnight Suns in baseball, plus a little soccer mixed in here and there," said Hart. "I've also done some ski instruction up at Eaglecrest. I just feel an overall joy from working with the youth and helping them become better young adults as they move forward. Getting into the educational process was my next venture, if you will. I just want to make sure, for my kid and kids moving forward, that we are providing them the best educational process and experience we possibly can as a community."
Whitney is a fisheries manager for NOAA. He says he comes from a family of educators. "My parents were teachers, and my oldest brother is a high school math teacher," Whitney explained. "We also had a shrimp boat, and we'd go out west of Puget Sound."
He explains that fish and education have been his whole life. "Out of college, I had student loans and went to the Bering Sea, spent three years doing laps around there as a biologist, came back here to Southeast Alaska where I was a harvest diver in Ketchikan, and then I stayed in salmon here."
He says there were a lot of people with a lot more experience than him andcould see the writing on the wall that there were fewer jobs for more people. So he went back to school. "I came here to Juneau, and met my wife, spent a couple of years here before going to Fairbanks for seven years and coming back."
Whitney says he's been in Alaska for 24 years here in Alaska including 16 in Juneau."
Whitney, like Hart and DeBartolo, has children in the Juneau School System. Whitney's two sons have been a part of the district since pre-school, with the oldest currently a junior in high school.
"I've been watching the district through my kids ever since I came here. I have the background, experience, and knowledge; it seemed like a good time to throw my hat in the ring."
The final candidate for consideration doesn't claim any children in his background or reason for running, but that's most likely because Kevin Allen only recently graduated from high school himself. However, regardless of his age, he possesses experience relevant to the position.
"I graduated in May," Allen announced. "When I was a senior in high school, I was a student representative, so I already sat on the board with the other members. Why I'm running is I actually had a trip to Washington DC. I was really debating whether or not I should run, but when I got back to Juneau, I saw what was stake at here. I saw that there was an incumbent - Lisa Worl - and I saw that loses some representation for the Native community that I believe is very important to the board. What else I find important is definitely an opinion that is underrepresented at times; that of the youth opinion. And, really, with my experience coupled, I could definitely bring that youth opinion to the board very efficiently."
The four candidates are running for two seats up for grabs on the October 4th local election ballot.