Another potential newcomer to the Petersburg borough assembly this year is a local boat mechanic and volunteer for the fire department. 27-year-old Aaron Hankins moved to town three years ago. He has been outspoken this year in responding to assembly criticism of fire department equipment.
Hankins turns 28 years old in October. He works as a mechanic at Piston and Rudder. He’s originally from Oregon and got into commercial fishing after high school. After purse seining in Southeast Alaska he moved to town in September of 2016 and took the job at the shipyard.
He’s running for assembly to correct the record.
“Without trying to be mean or point fingers or nothing, one of my main issues is bringing a little bit of integrity back to the assembly there,” Hankins said. “People make mistakes, it happens and quite honestly it’s a thankless job. I mean you can’t please everyone but when stuff gets said in error I’d like to see a correcting statement so that way the public is updated and that information, the correct information is presented to the public.”
Hankins wrote to the assembly in July over assembly member Brandi Marohl’s questioning of the fire department’s Kevlar vests. Those vests were purchased by a non-profit volunteer department association, where Hankins serves as vice president, and donated to the department. Marohl cited those vests as an example of inefficient spending by the borough. Hankins asked for but didn’t get any correction or apology at that time.
Hankins is also seeking the assembly seat to see vacant positions in the fire department and police department filled. He said the fire department job, in addition to helping with ambulance coverage, will also help with paperwork on all department calls along with training for the volunteers. He said he’s not looking to cut jobs elsewhere in the borough to make up for those positions. Rather he thinks that spending can be made up with smaller measures.
“It would be in coordination with all the employees across the borough to try and do cost cutting measures, like you know maybe I don’t have to print out all these papers for this meeting,” Hankins said. “Maybe I can just put up a document up on a projector or something like that so everyone can see it. Try and just get everyone in the mind of save a penny, earn a penny type stuff.”
Hankins would like to see the borough pursue a sewer pump out spot for boats on Petersburg’s waterfront.
“I guess when the drive down dock was built, there originally was some consideration or something said for some of the employees of waste water about putting pump out for sewer,” he said. “To go back and do that might be kind of expensive now. I think if we could direct something towards Dock Street instead, that way you don’t have to deal with all the flexible connections that get worn out as the tide goes in and out, you just lay straight pipe and pump. Everything that I’ve heard so for is that we should be able to take it into our system and I’d like to see something like that done.”
He thinks the current footprint of the cruise industry is good for the infrastructure that is here, and doesn’t think the community is set up to handle larger boats. He’s also in favor of the Petro Marine land swap
“Petro wants to save money,” Hankins said. “They want to stop leasing that building. It makes sense to me. It helps them out.”
Hankins has also volunteered at the Elks Lodge and done some life guarding at the community pool. He doesn’t envision much of a campaign effort but says he’s available downtown many days and encourages people to come and talk with him.
Hankins and the other candidates for assembly and mayor’s seats will talk more about their positions and reasons for running during a forum this Thursday, September 12 7-9 p.m. at the borough assembly chambers and broadcast live on KFSK.