Candidate Profile: Mike Welch runs for reelection as North Pole Mayor

Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 4:09 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Mike Welch is running for reelection as Mayor of North Pole.

He said he is running to complete what he started 3 years ago. “That’s why I’m interested in what’s happening in our city, this wonderful opportunity for us to build our housing for the buildups of the United States Air Force and the United States Army, and for our citizens to have a better community.”

Welch continued, “I come from a background from a military school and our motto was ‘Forward, always forward,’ and that’s what I’m going by, and so my own thing for the city and for everyone around us is I’m doing the most for all, and I define all as not just the citizens of North Pole, but everybody who ever comes in contact with our city, that they know that we’re there, that we should be there to listen to them, help them, help them achieve what it is. They often turn and say ‘Nobody cares about us in government.’ I’m always trying to prove that’s not true.”

“When I first ran for office, there was only one person running for two slots, so there was a vacancy, and I thought, ‘Well, gosh, here I was,’” Welch added. “I was actively involved, and director of a federal union, so I was dealing with the congressional delegation, but the people I dealt with said, ‘You should run for that position, then,’ and so that was my moment to serve, and that’s what it’s all about, is service, and I’ve been able to do that since I was elected first in October of ‘05.”

Welch explained that he wants to make North Pole a better place to live. “I’d like to see it get a little more mature and find a way to get the city government a little more responsive to the citizens by putting it on the right size level. It’s a little small in staff right now. I’d like to see a better-staffed police department as well as a more modern fire department and they’re doing the best they can, but they’re going to need a little bit of help here along the way because our city’s going to grow, and they have to be able to grow with it.”

“We can’t squeeze 25 hours into a day,” Welch continued, adding, “So we actually need more help inside the city to be able to accomplish all of our missions, and so that would take a sense of bringing in the idea of, you have to be there full-time. It just cannot be a part-time job.”

Welch moved to North Pole in July of 1999. “I was elected to the city council in 2005. I spent a couple of terms on council. Also, I was given special projects to do on behalf of the city as a citizen, so I’m very happy to say that my family’s extremely well-integrated. Sometime here, by the time this is over with, I’m expecting my ninth grandchild up here. I’m trying to make it where after I’m long gone that they’ll know that their granddad played a part in making this a better place for them.”

Welch is running against Thomas McGhee in the municipal elections on October 5th.

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