Another product of the local school system is hoping to win a seat on Petersburg’s borough assembly this October. 31-year-old Chelsea Tremblay is fitting in her first campaign for assembly along with fixing up a house and planning her wedding. Tremblay is drawing on the experience of other family members who have held local office.
Tremblay is one of four people running for two seats on Petersburg’s borough assembly this fall. She’s the daughter of former city councilor and KFSK board president Bill Tremblay. She has served on the borough’s library advisory board since 2013. Tremblay wants to be on the assembly to be involved in the debate over how to deal with state spending cuts at the local level.
“Like being a part of the more formal conversation about that I think is something that just kind of felt right this year partly because I’m freaked out but also hopeful at the same time and I want that combination to be part of the conversation,” she said during a recent interview. “I feel like right now it’s a lot of despair and frustration overall. I don’t think that a lot of productive conversation comes from that space. I’d rather just be hopeful and figure out again how folks can come together and be creative and find solutions.”
To that end, Tremblay isn’t buying the current approach for state government of only spending cuts without solutions on raising more revenue.
“You know a lot of this crisis is coming from a sense of false scarcity at the state level,” Tremblay said. “And both our state representative and our senator are part of a group that are aware of that and are looking for productive solutions. And I’m really thankful to have both of them on our team. Being there to advocate at the community level that way I think is also important because a lot of the narrative coming from Juneau is based on a false idea. We have everything we need and we don’t have to be putting the most vulnerable at risk that way.”
Tremblay graduated from Petersburg High School in 2006. She received her undergraduate degree in political science from Washington State University and her master’s degree in cultural studies from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. She returned to Petersburg in 2013 and besides serving on the library board has helped lead community discussion on issues like homelessness and addiction.
“Yeah I am a firm believer that when a small group of people join in conversation really great things can happen and you know we’re all here together, we’re all concerned about the future of town in all these different ways whether it’s the role addiction can play in really upending a family in the community, it’s such a big issue and the way that’s connected to housing stability,” she said. “I think we’re all, being part of those conversations is really important to me just as we figure out what our future is going to look like.”
Tremblay also worked here as the manager of The Market in Petersburg. Now she’s a board member of that summertime public space for local vendors. She’s worked several jobs since returning to Petersburg. These days she works at the book store and does some work for the cruise ships during the summer.
Tremblay wants to bring her perspective on the cruise industry to the assembly’s discussion on that part of the local economy. She points out the diversity in the companies that call in Petersburg.
“Some engage more community groups,” Tremblay said. “Some are here for longer. Some are here for shopping. So I think being able to bring that nuance into the borough level discussion is super important. I’m also really interested in being kind of a retail voice too, someone who does work in the brick and mortar side of things and knows how hard people work for their money and how careful they are with spending it in town.”
Tremblay said she will be learning a lot about the position if she’s elected and she’s reluctant to make campaign promises yet. But she is interested in seeking ways for property owners to pursue tiny houses or other relatively affordable housing solutions. She’s getting married this month and she and her fiancé are fixing up their first home and she says she’s learned a lot from that.
Tremblay was KFSK’s summer intern in 2008 and is a frequent volunteer at KFSK and has also filled-in as host of morning edition.