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Ryan VanReenan runs for Seat H on the Borough Assembly

Published: Aug. 26, 2020 at 4:12 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Ryan VanReenan is running for Seat H on the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly. This seat is currently held by Aaron Lojewski.

VanReenan said he is running because he believes in this community and believes in investing in its future.

“For the last several years, our local and state government have suffered from a deficit of ideas and a deficit of boldness. They have sought to remedy this by an extreme divestment from our community’s future. Our constant, chaotic budget battles are driving people away when we need to be drawing people to our community. The best way to do that is by reinvesting in that community,” he said.

According to VanReenan, “We need to work to ensure fully-funded, quality education. That is the best proven way to draw businesses and families to Fairbanks. We also need to utilize the bully pulpit of local government and we need to utilize the established processes of local government to ensure the state is doing its part in terms of providing essential services and honoring its commitments to Fairbanks, in terms of reimbursing us for school bond debt, [and] reimbursing us for required property tax exemptions.”

VanReenan discussed what he sees as the main PM 2.5 problem. “It will always be unconscionable to me that there are areas of the borough where children cannot play outside because of our poor air quality.”

He said that right now the major issues facing Fairbanks come from chaotic budget battles. “In the last decade, we’ve lost three and a half percent of our population here in the borough, and that is largely due to our budget battles and our high unemployment. Right now, and partially because of the pandemic, we have 10.4 percent unemployment. One of the first things that businesses look at when they want to move into a new community is how well the public education system is. And our government no longer values education the way it once did.”

This is his first campaign, according to VanReenan. “I’m not a perennial candidate, nor am I a career politician. Career politicians aren’t going to solve our problems. It’s going to be everyday Fairbanksans from all walks of life. It’s going to be the people of Fairbanks and elected representation that speaks with them, not for them. We have tried the career politician. It’s time to try something new.”

“It’s been a confluence of events over the last few years that have spurred me to this, including the Dunleavy vetoes, including the powerlessness people feel. We have to let those people know that they have a voice in government, and mine will be a voice that champions reinvestment in this community,” he said.

VanReenan is running against Lojewski on the ballot for the municipal elections on October 6th.

Copyright 2020 KTVF. All rights reserved.

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