Voters in Kodiak last week elected Annika Woods to be one of the Kodiak City Council’s newest and youngest members, at just 26 years old. It’s her first term as an elected official.
Woods grew up in Kodiak and is now one of the youngest people to serve as an elected official on the island. She said that’s a big reason why she ran.
“It’s important to have diversity when it comes to not just backgrounds and where people come from, but also schools of thought and every generation reacts to various things in life differently,” she said. “And I do think it’s important that someone in our generation steps up and gets involved at that higher level.”
Woods has previously worked for the city clerk and built a familiarity with the city’s functions from that office. She said while she loved the job, she wanted to be more directly involved.
Woods left her job at the city’s offices in January of this year and decided she wants to keep being in the room where it happens.
“I already had a lot of background knowledge about how the city works internally and just where to go to find things and so I kept thinking, ‘why not me then?’” she said. “And since I already had experience on boards, I thought, ‘You know what, I’ll run and I’ll see what happens.’”
Woods has served on the board of directors of the Kodiak Elks Lodge for six years. She’s also co-founded a new nonprofit that supports recent high school graduates to find education and employment opportunities, Island Grad Project.
Woods told voters during last month’s candidate forums that she wants to be deeply involved with the city’s major infrastructure projects, like the harbors and help improve transparency with the community. She noted one of her priorities though is to update city code.
“City code has been remarked as dated by other municipal employees and just people around the state around the community,” Woods said.
She said she wants to make the process easier for small businesses to have pop-up shops, especially during cruise ship days. Woods said it’s important to find a way to encourage local commerce while not blocking sidewalk traffic.
“We should be encouraging people to conduct business in the city,” she said. “They’re collecting sales tax and that goes into the general fund and it’s just kind of a win-win for everybody.”
The councilwoman-elect said projects like that could help to revitalize downtown and she’s excited to keep bringing ideas to the city council during her 3 year term.
Woods will be sworn in and election results will be certified at the city council meeting on Thursday, Oct. 12.