22-year-old Chuck Arrsauyaq Herman is back in Bethel after four years of college on the West Coast. Herman is not Yup’ik but introduces himself with a Yup’ik name from his time in the Yup’ik immersion school. He says part of why he’s running for council is that he wants to see more people with roots in Bethel in leadership positions.
“Growing up in Bethel really adds a different perspective to what you’re doing and the decisions you’re making,” said Herman.
Herman moved to Bethel when he was one year old and attended the Yup’ik immersion school before graduating from Bethel Regional High School. He’s currently working as a college and career guide at the high school. Herman recently graduated with a degree in Public Policy Analysis.
“I’ve always really, really loved public policy not necessary politics and campaigning, but I’m really interested in the nitty gritty of public policy,” said Herman.
Herman brings three main ideas to his campaign. One has to do with supporting the police department and increasing accountability following allegations of police brutality.
“I don’t think the police are bad people or anything like that, I think that steps can be taken so the truth is out there, and I think that’s good for both police officers and the people you’re interacting with. I think that makes both people act better in that situation,” said Herman.
Technology is another public policy front that Herman thinks could help improve city operations. He cites examples of other cities using smartphone apps for citizens for example to pass on information about derelict or unsafe vehicles.
And as someone who has spent his early years learning Yup’ik, Herman wants the city to do more to work with tribal government and recognize the Alaska Native Community.
“Just off the top of my head, I’m interested in looking at getting street signs that are in English and Yup’ik. Just the little things like that to begin with that really add and recognize the importance of Yup’ik people and the Yup’ik language,” said Herman.
As Herman settles back into Bethel life, he says he’s glad to be home.
“You’ve probably seem me around town, I’m a 6’4” redhead who walks everywhere I don’t have a car, so if you see this guy on the side of the road, pause if you want to say hi or wave at me, I’m really friendly. I’m just really happy to be home and be back in place where you walk down the road and there are people waving at you and you do know people,” said Herman.
Bethel’s municipal election is October 7th. Stay tuned for more profiles of the seven candidates vying for three two-year terms.