The Kodiak Island Borough Assemby appointed Joseph Delgdo to the seat that Borough assemblymember Duane Dvorak gave up earlier this summer during a special session Tuesday evening. He will be sworn in during a Thursday Borough Assembly meeting.
Delgado has been a longtime public servant.
“I’ve been doing public service for a long time, 10 years or more. It’s something that I do, I’m good at it. One of the things about Duane was that he was a good advocate for the villages for rural people, as well as for people in Kodiak. So that is one of the things that I wanted to continue on was having assembly involvement with the villages as much as we can,” Delgado said.
Delgado has long been involved in a number of different local governmental bodies, both on Kodiak Island and at the state level for fisheries.
“I was on the city council and tribal council boards in Ouzinkie at different times. Coincidentally, appointed most of the time. And been involved in the fisheries even before in Ouzinkie. Now that I’m with the Ouzinkie Native Corporation, I’ve testified before the Board of Fish,” Delgado said.
When asked about what issues he was looking forwards to addressing in his term, Delgado said he would be interested in addressing elections. He specifically referenced a recent failure in local politics- during the last election, ballots arrived late to some of the Kodiak native villages. Delgado says he wants to make sure that doesn’t happen again.
Delgado’s appointment isn’t without its own controversy- he was appointed to the position to fill out the remaining time of Dvorak’s term, not elected. Julie Kavanaugh’s seat will also be filled by appointment, after she declared she would step down. This is in line with Borough code, which states that incomplete assemblymember terms should be filled out by appointment.
Former assemblymember and attorney Mel Stevens disagrees with this interpretation of the code. He has gone so far as to file a lawsuit challenging the Assembly’s appointments, with the opinion that the seats should be filled in the upcoming October election. Delgado hopes to prove himself to the voting public during his tenure.
“I expect there to be opposition. I don’t know how much really, that will get worked out in the next month, coming months. I think that we just have to keep going the way we are. I’ve done this for some time. I’m good at what I do. I hope to change people’s minds once they see what I can do on the board,” Delgado said.
Delgado won’t have to bear the controversy alone. Applicants for the vacancy of Julie Kavanaugh’s seat are scheduled to be interviewed by the Assembly at a September 9th meeting, and a decision at a September 14th special session should see the Assembly full again.