Lawrence Armour for Klawock Mayor Answers Questions (Part 1) - P.O.W. Report

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Lawrence Armour for Klawock Mayor Answers Questions (Part 1)

[Lawrence Armour answers questions from potential voters and from POWReport. You may find his campaign website Here or email him at]

Tell us a bit about yourself

I am a Veteran. In 2000, I signed up for the Submarine Service which is part of the Navy. Growing up in Klawock and the freedom of this wonderful community sparked the flame of pride that burns deep within me to this day for our country. I knew that I was ready to serve. After I came home from the Submarine Service, I felt like I needed to continue and answer the call to serve the community and the land that has given me so much. The pride I have in who I am, is linked directly to where I am from. It is because of this that I owe so much to Klawock.

My family, elders and the teachers from Klawock all developed within me the courage, pride, determination, selflessness and dedication to duty and integrity needed to serve a cause larger than myself. I can’t thank you enough for making me the man I am today. I want to begin to repay you if you’ll have me.

When is the Election?

The election is in October. I began my campaign early in order to gain momentum before any other candidates had a chance to throw their name in the mix. I was worried that people might get tired of the posts to my political page, but the amount of people following has grown steadily. The positive feedback has been amazing.

Some are worried that there is a "Conflict of interest with your Current Job"

The Tribal Administrator (TA) is like the CEO of the Tribe. The TA answers to the Tribal Council. The Tribal Council is a duly elected governing body of the Tribe. They are authorized to act on behalf of it's members. If the TA happens to be Mayor, it doesn't give that person any more authority at a Tribal meeting. The TA can submit items of concern for the agenda or make recommendations and the Council will decide what actions to take. The wishes of the Council will then be carried out by the TA.

If the Tribal Administrator were to be elected Mayor, he/she would then be a part of the duly elected governing body of the City. They are authorized to act on behalf of the Citizens. Now, to be clear, the other Council members of the City also have full time jobs outside of being a Council member. The title, City Council Member, gives them no more and no less power in their respective professions and vice versa, their respective professions have no bearing on their authority within the City Council Chambers.

These are both examples of organizations that follow a democratic process. The job of each Council member is to ensure that even the smallest minority has a voice, that is why they listen to each citizen. Each Council member has a vote regarding key issues and the majority rules. There is no room in any of this for one person to have too much power. The checks and balances are in place around each table in the form of individual Council members, all of whom were elected by the people of Klawock. 

Each organization also has very clear conflict of interest procedures in place - (most issues are avoided by simply abstaining from a vote where the potential conflict or the potential perceived conflict exists).

Are you still with me? It was getting a little dry - extremely important stuff though! Here's the grand finale, thank you for listening.

One of the key attributes that would become clear to everyone if I were to be elected Mayor, is my ability to discern between the needs of the citizens, the needs of the tribal members and the ability to remove personal and/or family matters from the equation. I have a firm grip on the reality of this position and the necessity to remain nondiscriminatory, open-minded and completely fair in every decision that needs to be made. There will be no favors or special considerations given to anyone.

The Mayor is a public servant and that is something I take seriously. I have never looked at this as an opportunity to grab at power or to gain authority. I view this as an opportunity to offer myself to the public because I honestly feel that I have the ability to sacrifice my time and energy to give back to the place that I love in a way that everyone can appreciate.

How do you expect to get anything done for the City when you're so busy as the Tribal Administrator?

The short answer - Not on my own. The Military taught me to delegate and hold people responsible for the tasks they are assigned.

I surround myself with reliable professionals both on the island and all over Southeast. I don't do any of this for the accolades, but people tell me that they enjoy working with me because I'm honest and hard working. I would like to give you a few examples of what it is that occupies a majority of my time as KCA's Administrator, because none of this was accomplished on my own, these were all team efforts:

I recently submitted a grant proposal that, if accepted will bring $800,000 to POW for mold remediation and prevention. This proposal was made possible by a partnership with our Regional Housing Authority and letters of support from all over Klawock.

I am currently working, in partnership, with Klawock Heenya, Shaan Seet and the City of Craig to bring $95,500.00 for sockeye habitat restoration and enhancement.

I'm working with The Nature Conservancy, Kai Environmental and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, I created a new position at the Tribe whose primary purpose is to develop cultural, ecological and economic prosperity, sustainability and resilience in Klawock. This was made possible by an award of more than $40,000 per year for the next 6 years from Sustainable Southeast Partnership (SSP).

The SSP grant was key in the acquisition of another award of $90,000 from the Bureau of Indian Affairs for a sockeye predation study and created 2 additional seasonal-full time employment opportunities.

I am busy, but I'm busy bringing jobs, bringing sockeye back to our river, creating lasting and meaningful partnerships and most importantly, creating healthy homes and new homes for Klawock.

As your Mayor I will continue to bring prosperity to our wonderful City. I said continue because I'm already producing for you and if you put the full weight of City behind me, the sky is the limit.

What is your opinion on the current state of political and cultural unrest?

I had a disheartening conversation with a person that I have considered a friend for a very long time. The person had a friendly demeanor, but the conversation was rooted in contempt. I left the discussion feeling very down, very disappointed and it was running through my mind for several days. I had to ask myself, with the current tragic events in mind, am I just more attuned to issues that have the potential to be racially motivated?

This conversation isn't the point, it simply forced me to look at some unfortunate aspects of our reality in Klawock. It is 2016. How are we still dealing with racism? Regardless of your upbringing, things you may have witnessed or experienced; a great man once said, hate begets hate. Stop perpetuating this destructive and absolutely useless hatred toward one another. It is pointless. It only hurts. 

We may be much less likely to be personally affected by wrongful death, police brutality or violence against our police department. And my heart goes out to all of those who have been affected by this nonsense. However, we are surrounded by people from very diverse backgrounds and still experience racism on varying levels.

You can't let yourself fall into a trap of treating someone a certain way due to preconceived notions. However small you think it may be, that is racism. I am no better than anyone else and neither are you. When you look at someone, know that they have struggles just like you, just like all of us. A little kindness goes a long way. It doesn't hurt, it doesn't cost anything and when it's all said and done, you'll feel better too. You never know, you may have been that bright spot in an otherwise dark day. It only takes a little hint of humanity to restore someone’s faith in the good of people.

This is something that was weighing heavy on my heart. I don't want anyone to comment on this with any negativity. There is no reason to try to blame anyone for anything when it comes to the issue of race; that will only continue the cruel, pointless cycle. If we can't just let it all go and move on we can never grow. I just have to urge you to step back and put it all into perspective. That hate you have weighs on your soul. Is it worth it? Is it worth all of the energy spent, harboring those negative thoughts? Of course it isn’t. Life is too damn short. Just let it go.

This is not someone else's problem. You can't separate yourself from this issue. This is my problem. This is your problem. Whether you like it or not, this concerns you. The worst part is the simplicity of the solution. All you need to do to help is show a little compassion for a fellow human being.

Part 2 With Lawrence Armour will come out next Friday!

Read More: Interview and Podcast with Sheila Finkenbinder for State House

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