In their own words: Mayor Incumbent Richard Beneville
NN: What is your motivation and what are your qualifications to run for mayor?
Richard Beneville: My motivation to seek re-election comes from my deep love and respect for Nome and its citizens and my desire to serve my community. My qualifications: an ability to listen to others, and a desire to give back to the town that has given me so much. I try to be practical and compassionate man.
I was director of Nome Community Schools for 23 years. I am a been a board member of the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce for 15 years, I am active in the Nome Arts Council, I am a member of the Alaska Travel Industry Associations, I am active in Nome’s wellness movement, housing improvement activities and Port expansion. Finally I am a good presenter and comfortable in front of an audience.
NN: What do you identify as the most pressing issues for Nome and how do you propose to address them as mayor?
Richard Beneville: Most pressing issues for Nome is the Expansion of the Port of Nome and the economy of Nome. There will eventually be a series of port infrastructure going north, including Port Clarence. Alaska needs a Western Alaska that will speak with a unified voice on this critical issue. Housing is a critical issue. We need to have a better broader spectrum of housing for those who live in Nome now, are relocating to Nome (some seasonally) from the villages, and those who will come as a result of expansion.
NN: How do you propose to address the public intoxication problem that has over the past year become worse?
Richard Beneville: I am a recovering alcoholic. It has be 28 years since I had a drink. The devastation that alcohol brought to my live has been horrific. NSHC is building a Wellness Center with an alcohol rehab unit. It is much needed. Changes in our state laws have made it more difficult to address public intoxication. I am not so sure that creating ordinances regarding where an inebriated person can walk, or the size bottles that can be sold are effective. This topic continues to need the diligence and compassion of the public to help those who suffer from alcoholism. It has a community wide effect.
NN: As the Mayor of Nome and its ceremonial representative, what do you think the mayor should stress when dignitaries from state and national governmental agencies come through Nome?
Richard Beneville: A community that is vital and looking forward to the future with enthusiasm. A community that embraces and respects our diverse cultures. A community that understands that the legacy we leave belongs to our children and knows what that legacy is. “Keep looking north Alaska!” I’ve been saying it for years. Our history (10,000 years of Alaskan Native history and more recently, Gold Rush, World War II, Iditarod and, of course, I brag about and show the beauty of our region.
The Quintillion project is a project that will bring increased connectivity to the Far North which is critical to growth of commerce. The increase in ocean traffic, the changes in our climate and environment are in many ways scary and at the same time offer us great opportunities. I am proud to say of our community of Nome that we are preparing for that future; working to preserve the qualities of our lives as we face a changing environment and being are aware of our history and cultures as we proceed.
Final note: I enjoy being the Mayor of Nome and am very proud to be the Mayor of Nome for last two years I will to continue to do so.
The future is here. The future I see is bright.