The Kodiak Island Borough Assembly and Kodiak City Council spoke in favor of adding more diversity to local governing bodies at their joint work session last week.
While trading ideas between assembly and council, Assemblyman Larry LeDoux expressed a wish for better representation from different cultures. He recalled a discussion he had with a Filipino elder.
“He said in our country the opportunity for regular people to participate in government process is not common, that it just isn’t done, that there are certain groups that participate, and there’s others that just don’t do that, and they bring that here, and so they never even think about being a part of the process, whether it’s P & Z… any of our various boards between the city.”
LeDoux said the city and borough should get the word out that there are open seats on the various committees and advisory groups and make a concentrated effort toward diversity.
“Could we sort of agree – I’d be willing to work with someone,” said LeDoux.
“Oh, I’d be happy to do that,” said Mayor Pat Branson. “And I can tell you at St. Mary’s, the culture there is very diverse and open for that kind of communication to happen, and you mentioned Mary and the Fil-Am Association would be ideal. I’d be happy to work with you on that.”
Branson said current city councilmembers could reach out to members of the community.
“On the city council we have had Filipino representatives. We do right now. We have two young people. Smart young people. So, just getting them out there and letting them speak I think is even better than our speaking. And going along with them.”
The two councilmembers Branson is referring to are Randy Bishop and Laura Arboleda, who are also both in their twenties and rare examples of millennials involved in local government.
Branson ended by saying the interested parties would get together and lay out a plan for communication.