Haines voters will have four candidates to choose from in the municipal election for the Haines Borough Assembly. The terms for assembly members Sean Maidy and Tresham Gregg end this October. Maidy is seeking re-election, but Gregg will not. Barbara Mulford, William Prisciandaro and Paul Rogers have filed to run for assembly as well.
KHNS spoke with Paul Rogers to learn more about the candidate and why he decided to run.
Rogers and his wife moved to Haines from Michigan in 2014 to be closer to their daughter and her family. Initially, he did not expect to get involved in local politics.
“I was kind of hoping to retire and relax a little bit and fish and hunt a little bit more,” Rogers said. “Then the assembly issues started to come along and I went, ‘You know, I think I have a responsibility as a citizen to step up and do my part, offer my voice, and just try to be a voice of reason.’”
He spent most of his career working in law enforcement and emergency services, first as a lieutenant for the Eaton County Sheriff’s Department in Michigan and later as the county’s first 911 director.
Rogers served on several advisory bodies related to emergency services. For a couple years he chaired Michigan’s 911 Emergency Telephone Service Committee and was a member of the Michigan Communication Directors Association.
Since moving to Haines, Rogers has been appointed to the Public Safety Commission and regularly attends assembly meetings. He has been very vocal on the issue of police service outside the Haines townsite.
In 2017, the Alaska State Troopers removed its blue shirt officer who patrolled outside of town. Now the assembly has passed an ordinance that makes way for on-call police service for residents out the Haines Highway, Lutak Road, and Mud Bay Road. Voters living within the affected areas will decide on the proposal during the general election this October.
Rogers has been fairly critical of the assembly’s approach to this issue.
“I don’t know that they always have a common direction, and I think there’s kind of an effort to expand government. I see a lot of people that are really resistant to that,” Rogers said. “A lot of people are resistant to policing because they think it’s the camel’s nose under the tent. I understand that argument. I don’t necessarily agree with that argument because I do believe some police services are required.”
Rogers believes he would make a good assembly member because of his experience in public service.
“I understand the role of government, and I also understand the role of people who either want government to do something for them or people who want government not to do things for them because they like to be independent. I see that conflict here in Haines. I think that the experience that I have puts me in a position where I can offer some insights that maybe aren’t obvious right now,” Rogers said.
Elections for the Haines Borough Assembly take place October 2.
KHNS and the Chilkat Valley News are hosting a candidate forum on September 18 at 6 p.m. in the Chilkat Center. Questions for assembly candidates can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.