Who is Kathy Ottersten?

"You can't hate somebody for what they are - you can only hate what people do". 


My father said that when I was nine years-old. That day I had witnessed anti-busing violence in my Louisville neighborhood and heard words I'd not heard before. He explained to his kids what those words meant and why we should never use them, and he made it so simple that even my brother of five understood.


My parents taught their children that to be a whole person you have to reach out into your community and value those people around you. You need to appreciate what you have and help others that are not as fortunate. Part of that is service to your country - we have a strong military background and although I was not allowed to serve in that capacity I found other ways to give back.


Over the past 35 years I have done volunteer work as diverse as managing a soup kitchen in the South Bronx, addressing issues of homelessness and access to healthcare, helping to create a needle exchange program, and fighting for LGBTQ civil rights. I learned from veterans of the civil rights movement of the 1950's that you cannot lift people up through violence - only through steadfast and peaceful opposition to injustice. 


Over the decades I've been a small business owner, driven tractor-trailer, worked on a tugboat, and put myself through college and law school in my 30's. I understand what it means to make the decision between keeping the power on or letting the bank take your car. And I understand how lucky you are when you don't have to make those kinds of decisions.


These are the values, experiences, and viewpoints that I believe are needed in local government right now, and which motivate me to run for Fairbanks City Council.

Why I'm Running

"Fairbanks has changed." Perhaps you've thought that recently. I've heard it said on more than one occasion by folks who feel that our city isn't really responding to issues of safety, public services, and promoting job growth. 


Our city is facing difficult issues. And in uncertain times I believe urgent action must be taken head-on and without fear. I have the ability, creativity, and drive to represent the people of this city in that fight, and I'll work to include all of our diverse communities in this city's government.


We have long standing problems and innovative ways need to be found to address them. It's clear the old answers aren't enough anymore.


However, that cannot happen unless people demand more of their City Council, and in turn the Council must ask for the help of all citizens in finding paths that work for everyone.


I believe that I am someone who can help bring forward those solutions, and I hope that people will entrust me with that responsibility.

Kathy at home with her wife Adrianne and pups, Gene and Burnley.

Kathy at home with her wife Adrianne and pups, Gene and Burnley.