Record turnout for candidates and community emphasizes hope for Interior’s future
FAIRBANKS- Community members turned out in droves yesterday for the inaugural Climate Jobs and Justice Forum at the JP Jones Community Development Center. Over 125 community members showed up to have their questions answered by 18 Municipal candidates, from City Mayor, Fairbanks and North Pole City Council, Borough Assembly, and School Board.
Community members were encouraged to submit questions, and the focus of the conversations ranged from land acknowledgments, just transition, to union and benefit negotiations for first responders within the City. “The topics chosen addressed a myriad of issues that affect our diverse community. Having so many candidates show up for their potential constituents shows the level of care they have for our community. The greatest gift you could give someone is knowledge, and now we can move forward with the knowledge necessary to make an informed decision about our candidates when it comes time to vote.” – Rina Kowalski, Community Organizer, Native Movement.
This group came together because we wanted to create a space where we could engage with candidates on the challenges and successes here in the Interior. They’re not many times where all candidates are in the same room to learn and share their plans to build this community. This forum was a broad representation of the issues that really resonate with our community, and we need leadership that is ready to stand up and act on that.” – Alyssa Quintyne, Interior Organizer, The Alaska Center.
Interior advocacy groups galvanized around this event because they feel that now more than ever, these big-picture conversations need to be brought to light. “In this critical time for the Interior, we need leaders that are not single-issue or single-minded. We need visionaries willing to take bold action and inspire intersectional change. Tonight Fairbanksians were able to get an idea of where these candidates stand and how they can lead us beyond business as usual.” – Jessica Girard, Director, Fairbanks Climate Action Coalition.
Community members were excited to be able to directly engage with candidates on the issues that impact them most. Fairbanks community member Jimmy Fox explained, “This was an energizing event! Every one of the 18 candidates agreed that humans are responsible for climate change. This is fantastic because global warming is impacting us here and now. Local elected officials must work with us and lead or get out of the way. This event helped the community see who will lead and who won’t.”