In their own words: Lew Tobin
Council Seat C: Three-year term
Incumbent Lew Tobin
NN: What is your motivation to re-run for office and what are your qualifications for the Nome Common Council?
Lew Tobin: I ran for City Council because I was interested in what was going on in Nome and how our community leadership invested in our town. My time as a community volunteer through Nome Rotary Club, The Pioneers of Alaska, Nome Arts Council, Nome Chamber of Commerce, Nome Preschool, PTA President, Nome Fire Department and various other community groups, including my previous elected position on Nome School Board have given me many opportunities to great a diverse network of friends and colleagues.
Now, Nome has been my home for more than half my life. I enjoy Nome as a city, as a community and as my home. I want to keep Nome enjoyable and safe for everyone. I am qualified to continue serving my home on City Council because I am committed to investing what it takes to make Nome a better place — a more safe place for everyone. My community ties allow me to hear from many diverse community members on what the strengths and weaknesses of our city are and how our City Council can govern better. Nome is my home and I am dedicated to making it the best city it can be.
NN: What are the biggest challenges facing Nome today and how do you propose as councilmember to address them?
Lew Tobin: The biggest challenges I will face during my next term as a City Council member are public safety, city management, tax revenue, education and issues surrounding marijuana, alcohol and even tobacco use. I will continue to work with my neighbors to find common sense solutions to these issues. Nome is a very compassionate town, and by keeping level heads and working together, Nome has made tremendous progress and we will continue to do so now and far into the future.
Homelessness, education, health care, the port, substance abuse are among the other challenges that City Council will continue to address. The solutions to these problems will extend long past my tenure as a City Council member, but I will continue to work toward long-term solutions on all challenges facing our community.
NN: How do you propose to stimulate public interest in attending meetings and becoming involved in city issues?
Lew Tobin: The people of Nome are engaged and care about our town. I know this because as a current City Council member, many community members know I am open and ready to listen to their comments and feedback at any time. When folks see me walking around town, I am often greeted by Nome’s citizens, and I take time to listen to everyone’s comments on community happenings, including specific things in Nome that are of particular interest to them. I spend the time to listen and I ask questions to ensure I can accurately represent all my constituent’s questions and requests at each city council meeting. I believe strongly that I am a representative of my community and it is my responsibility to elevate my neighbor’s concerns about their homes and city. I know many folks are busy putting food on their tables and taking care of their families and as a retiree, I have the time and the ability to go out into our community and learn more about what our community wants to see happen. It is then my responsibility to bring that feedback back to City Council and use it to inform my decision-making.
NN: How do you propose to combat the alcohol and substance abuse problem in Nome?
Lew Tobin: I know alcohol and substance abuse is a complex problem that requires a complex solution. As I continue to work with my fellow City Council members, local advocacy groups and community nonprofits identifying solutions that are fair and equitable for everyone, I will also be working on my own education on this issue. I know I can learn more on how I can best advocate for system changes that create a safer place for all our community members. I also believe regulations like the Alaska State Law on restricting DUI offenders from purchasing alcohol has assisted in addressing this problem in larger cities and I am interested in pursuing additional city legislation that would extend this law in some capacity.
NN: Please outline your proposal to restore citizens’ trust in the Nome Police Department and describe what a functional NPD would look like in your opinion.
Lew Tobin: Those entrusted with our public safety should be held to the highest standards. Unfortunately, our police department has failed to meet these standards and will be held accountable. Accountability is the only way to regain that trust. To hold the police accountable, as a City Council member, I advocated for the immediate resignations of the chief of police and city manager. In this upcoming City Council term, I will support hiring a full time investigator and full funding for staffing to ensure our police department has all necessary resources to function properly. I will also be backing increased foot patrols for more community policing. I would like to investigate the use of body cams or at least Dash cams for our officers.