Election concerns run the gamut for local parents

Election concerns run the gamut for local parents

At candidate meet and greet, questions of child care cost, education

Local families met with statehouse candidates Friday night for a meet the candidates event at the Wells Fargo Dimond Park Field House.

The cost of child care and education funding top a list of parent priorities. Families brought their kids, who took advantage of free time on the field house turf, while parents spoke with all six candidates for statehouse.

Ben and Rachel Disney, parents of a 5-year-old daughter, said they’re still undecided. Ben Disney said he’d like to see some funding for pre-kindergarten programs. Above all, mother Rachel Disney said she’s voting for whomever will reach across the aisle.

“My biggest concern with all of these elections is how the two parties are going to work together,” Rachel Disney said. “If it’s going to be something where they’re going to just say no to one another just out of principal, I’m not looking for that. I’m looking for them to reach a middle ground.”

Miriah Twitchell, mother of three, was taking diligent notes. Child care costs are so high in Juneau, she said, that she had to leave her job at the State of Alaska to take care of her 3, 5 and 7-year-old kids.

She said her vote is already settled, but she would consider changing her mind if she heard some out-of-the-box ideas to solve child care.

The idea that Alaska doesn’t have enough money to do something about child care costs

doesn’t ring true, Twitchell said.

“It’s not just a problem here, I recognize budgets are an issue everywhere,” she said, but other countries are able to provide better child care options.

Alaska could ease licensing burdens on child care providers, she said, or add more flexibility for state workers with children.

Gunnar Gissel, father of an infant and a 2-year-old, said issues with local crime are overblown. He’s looking to vote for a candidate who prioritizes early childhood education and child care.

Local carpenter Richard Phillips looks after his 9-year-old grandaughter. Education is his number one issue. It’s not the funding, he said, but how our politicians direct it that’s important.

“We throw more money at schools than any other state in the union, and we’re dead last. But if you talk to each one of these guys, they’ll say it’s out of their hands,” Phillips said.

He’d like to see the state stop emphasizing standardized testing, he said.

“They’re teaching kids to take a test now, they’re not teaching them how to think,” Phillips said.

The Southeast Alaska Association for the Education of Young Children sponsored the meet and greet, along with the United Way and Thread.


• Contact reporter Kevin Gullufsen at 523-2228 and kgullufsen@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @KevinGullufsen.


Election concerns run the gamut for local parents
Election concerns run the gamut for local parents

More in News

(Juneau Empire file photo)
Aurora forecast for the week of Feb. 19

These forecasts are courtesy of the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute… Continue reading

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, addresses a joint session of the Alaska Legislature on Wednesday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Sullivan touts new ocean cleanup headquarters in Juneau, attacks Biden in annual speech to legislators

Senator calls Trump “the best president ever” for Alaska, has harsh words for Iran and migrants

The Norwegian Bliss arrives in Juneau on April 17, 2023, the first cruise ship of the 2023 season. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)
Free public downtown Wi-Fi, park upgrades, more buses among proposals for marine passenger fees

Public comments being accepted until March 25 for more than $19 million in recommended projects.

Andy Mills (left), legislative liaison for the state Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, and Commissioner Ryan Anderson testify before the Senate Transportation Committee on Tuesday about an executive order that would give the governor full control of the Alaska Marine Highway System’s operations board. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Governor says he wants control of ferry board so it’s not ‘at odds’ with him; senators express skepticism

Resolution to reject Dunleavy’s executive order among many being considered by legislators.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire)
Police calls for Monday, Feb. 19, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Paul Peterson, author of the Harvard study on national charter school performance. (KTOO 360TV screenshot)
Alaska lawmakers grapple with test-score performance gap between charters and other public schools

Charter study does not show how their testing success can be replicated in regular public schools.

An underwater image captured in 2016 shows sockeye salmon swimming up the Brooks River in Alaska’s Katmai National Park to spawn. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is buying about 50 million pounds of Alaska fish — pollock, pink salmon and sockeye salmon — to use in its food and nutrition-assistance programs. (Photo provided by the National Park Service)
Agriculture Department commits to big purchase of Alaska salmon and pollock for food programs

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will purchase about 50 million pounds of… Continue reading

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé students hold up signs during a rally along Egan Drive on Tuesday afternoon protesting a proposal to consolidate all local students in grades 10-12 at Thunder Mountain High School to help deal with the Juneau School District’s financial crisis. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
JDHS students, teachers rally to keep grades 9-12 at downtown school if consolidation occurs

District’s proposed move to TMHS would result in loss of vocational facilities, ninth-grade students.

Deven Mitchell, executive director of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp., gives a tour of the corporation’s investment floor to Sen. Jesse Kiehl, D-Juneau, and other attendees of an open house on Friday. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. leaders approve proposal to borrow up to $4 billion for investments

Plan must be OK’d by legislators and Gov. Mike Dunleavy because it requires changes to state law.

Most Read