Mike Tvenge. Photo by Steve Dubois/Delta Wind Newspaper
Many people can look back and see how their decisions formed what they might consider their identities. Places of residence, careers, and personal preferences – like whether you’re a Cubs or a Mets fan – all form those identities. And it’s no different for Kodiak City’s new deputy city manager.
Mike Tvenge moved from Montana to Eagle River in 1981, which is when he became an Alaskan, and he moved from construction to local government some years later, which is when he became a public official.
Tvenge probably didn’t know for certain he was going to be a long-term Alaskan the moment he landed in Alaska or a long-term public official the day he won the election to be a city council member in Delta Junction.
But here he is, from 1981 to 2015, a government employee in a small island community in Alaska. And according to Tvenge, that’s exactly where he wants to be.
“Local government is a place where you can make changes in your community. Positive changes. And that’s what I like. I like to give back to our community, and I’m a long-time resident of the state of Alaska, and Alaska’s my home. So, this where I want to make cause and effect.”
Some local officials choose to pursue national politics sometime in their lives, but Tvenge says he doesn’t have aspirations in that direction.
“Local government is more homespun. You’re in your own community. You know what the needs are. Some people say that local government is more efficient than federal government, and I think that’s true because there’s less hurdles to jump through. It’s just easier to get things done and get the support of your local community versus a nation.”
Tvenge says he’s been getting to know Kodiak since he and his family moved here in August. And, of course, Kodiak’s most popular pastime has already caught him hook, line, and sinker.
“Really love the fishing. We’ve been getting out with rod and wheel on the rivers. There’s a lot of good action. The late runs this year really were special for us because we came later in the year, but in the interior Alaska, the fishing isn’t anything like Kodiak’s, so that was really exciting for us.”
Once he settles into his new home and his new position, Tvenge explains he’ll be able to apply his professional experiences to needs around town.
“In the trade of city management, my background is in construction and business management, so I see a fit for projects within the community, tackling day to day jobs like plowing the roads and keeping the swimming pool open, etc. Those are things that I’ve always worked on [in] maintenance… as a contractor, as a builder.”
You can see Tvenge at any given work session or regular meeting in the future, but if you want to get in touch with him, you can check out the city website for more information.