KUCB KIAL Unalaska Community Broadcasting

Voters Unseat Half Of Unalaska City Council In Anti-Incumbent Sweep

Oct 4, 2017

Unalaska City Hall on Election Day.
Credit Laura Kraegel/KUCB

Unalaska voters have ousted half the City Council.

During Tuesday's municipal election, all three council incumbents were defeated easily by their challengers, two of whom are newcomers to local politics.

That includes Councilor-Elect Shari Coleman, who won Seat G. She unseated Rachelle Hatfield with about 56 percent of the vote.

“There are really no words to describe it," she said. "I’ve never been in this position before, and it’s just exciting."

Coleman said she's excited for the other winners, too.

In the race for Seat B, political rookie James Fitch foiled Yudelka Leclere’s reelection bid by earning about 45 percent of the vote. Meanwhile, former councilor Dennis Robinson will return to public office at Seat E, after defeating John Waldron with about 54 percent of the vote.

Taking stock of the anti-incumbent sweep, Coleman said it’s clear that Unalaskans want change, especially after the council’s heavily criticized handling of the city manager’s resignation.

“I know the [Dave] Martinson thing really brought it all to a head, but it’s been festering," she said. "I think a lot of it’s just transparency. Conduct. Behavior. People weren’t pleased.”

The newly elected city councilors will take office Oct. 16, if election results are certified next week as expected.

The same goes for school board members Cherry Tan and Fernando Barrera, both of whom ran unopposed and won reelection with almost 90 percent of the vote.

While those races are finished, one ballot item is still too close to call.

Voters are nearly split over a proposal that would double the local sales tax on alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana. The measure will be decided by about 70 absentee and questioned ballots that have yet to be counted.

Outstanding ballots will be canvassed Friday at 10 a.m. at City Hall.