It’s election season, and in Haines five candidates filed to run for two seats on the Borough Assembly. KHNS is bringing those five candidates to you in a series of profiles that will air in the weeks leading up to our Candidate Forum.
Paul Rogers lives at Mosquito Lake. He’s the deacon at New Hope Fellowship Church and sings in the choir there.
He says one of the main reasons he’s running for a seat on the Haines Borough Assembly is that he wants to see more well paid jobs in the area.
“Yes, I’m 73 years old. So I’m an old duffer, I guess in some ways,” he said.
“But I can see the impact that not having real, full-time work has on young families, and we have a lot of young families that struggle and just can’t stay.”
He wants residents to be able to support themselves and their families off of one solid job, rather than piecing together employment. He says jobs are crucial to a vibrant economy and the maintenance of government services.
Rogers is retired now, but he worked in public safety for over 30 years. Half of that was in the Sheriff’s office outside of Lansing, Michigan. When his county started a 911 system with central dispatch, he spent the second half of his career directing it.
“I designed and implemented and enhanced 911 system for the whole county. And I also designed and implemented the Central Dispatch operation for nine police departments, 13 fire departments, seven ambulance services, and a number of other things,” he said.
Police service as an area wide power isn’t on this year’s election ballot, but it’s an issue that is likely to persist. Rogers says its the local issue that first caught his attention, and why he started attending assembly meeting regularly about two years ago. He says it’s important to have police for emergencies and life-threatening situations.
“If we’re going to propose something, then we need to have by in by the people that are affected by it. And right now we don’t have any buy in. So we need to have public meetings and we need to get the public engaged, we need to have a discussion about what kinds of services may be important to the people,” said Rogers.
He says he’s hopeful that the borough can come up with a plan most people will agree on. He says he is open to discussion about mine development in the region and that he’s taking a serious look at the future of solid waste management.
Rogers is a proponent of community input. He says that even though he may not agree with everyone, he does have something to learn from everyone.
“My experience in the past, when I was a 911 director especially, showed me that sometimes my greatest critics also were people providing me the best nuggets of information that I needed to be successful, ” he said.
Rogers has been married to his high school sweetheart for fifty four years. He says he will bring that same commitment and dependability to Haines.