Bethel City Candidate Profile: Jason Smith

by Charles Enoch on September 24, 2015

Bethel City Council Candidate Jason Smith of Bethel. Photo by Mike McIntyre/Yuk Media Co.

Bethel City Council Candidate Jason Smith of Bethel. Photo by Mike McIntyre/Yuk Media Co.

Six candidates are running for four Bethel City Council seats in the upcoming municipal election. KYUK is profiling these candidates in the coming days before the Oct. 6th election. Our next profile in the series is on city council candidate Jason Smith.

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36-year-old Jason Smith is a Community Development Specialist for the Association of Village Council Presidents. He is originally from Bethel, but he’s also lived in Eagle River. He says he wants to be a part of his community’s leadership.

“I believe in public service. There’s decisions that have to be made, and I’d like to be a part of that process,” says Smith.

Smith says he gained an interest in serving while listening to KYUK broadcasts of council meetings.

“It seemed like I was naturally drawn to it. I just started listening in to the city council meetings and kinda kept up with city council news and some of the issues being talked about right now,” says Smith.

Smith says he has been keeping track of the meetings when he can. But one of the biggest economic opportunities for the city he says, is the possibility of alcohol sales in Bethel.

“We kinda have possibly a big opportunity, if Bethel decides to go this route with the election coming up, is deciding if were gonna have a liquor store or not. If Bethel decides to go that route, there’s opportunity for growth. If not, I’m okay with that. It’s gonna be the public’s choice,” says Smith.

Those and other types of issues, Smith says, affect the daily lives of the community whose majority is Alaska Native, like himself.

“Alaska Natives make the majority of the population in Bethel, but on the city council we seem to be the minority,” says Smith.

Smith says he would like to represent his people on the council, but did not want to make that a focus in his consideration for council.

He is new to politics outside of college. He participated in student government as a member at large, and served two years as student council president.

Before moving to his current position with AVCP, he attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks Kuskokwim Campus earning his associates degree in general studies, then later his bachelors degree in Rural Development. Before returning to school full time, he worked with JBC Alaska, and the Harding Ranch Company in Anchorage. He’s also worked as a security guard for YKHC, ANMC and Providence Alaska Medical Center.

There will be a Bethel City Council Candidates Forum on Tuesday, Sept. 29th, at 6:30PM. You can listen in by tuning into KYUK 640 AM, or by streaming audio at The regular election will be held on Oct. 6th, 2015. Polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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