By Gretchen Wehmhoff
With a registerd voter turnout of 44%, Skagway selected two new assembly members and one new school board member. The second school board seat went to incumbent Denise Sager who was elected to a second term.
Reba Hylton topped the assembly race with 230 votes, Sam Bass earned the second seat with 175 votes. Incumbent Dan Henry was displaced after more than two decades on the assembly with 145 votes while challenger Beth Smith received 144.
“There’s a lot of homework, tough decisions and late nights ahead,” said Bass.
Bass says he anticipates a good deal of discussion over the port, something he has been involved in for a while on the now defunct port commission.
Bass says he utilized free platforms and talked to as many people as he could. He is glad Hylton was elected to the other seat.
“I’m looking forward to working with Reba. She has some good ideas,” Bass said.
Hylton was pleased with the results.
“I’m pretty excited, I’m not going to lie,” said Hylton after the final votes were tallied.
Hylton says she was a little surprised, but she and her campaign manager, Deb Potter, put a lot of hard work into the election.
“Once I committed, I owned it. I started meeting with people,” Hyton said.
The new assemblymember said she has never run for office but the thought has always been on the back burner. This was a step out of her comfort zone.
She wanted to give honest answers and believes she may have lost a few votes with her candid answers.
Hylton and Potter purchased signs to post around town. It cost her some money, but she believes the signs helped in these COVID-19 days where people don’t get a chance to meet at events.
Denise Sager received 302 votes to return to another three-year term on the school board.
“I’m very excited and I’m excited to work with Jason,” Sager said.
Sager said she appreciates the confidence voters showed her.
“It’s been a great process for me because my kids have been going to school here. When this term ends, my youngest will be ready to graduate.”
Verhaeghe said his election comes at a time when Skagway School will be facing difficult decisions.
“I think it will be a welcome challenge,” he said.
Verhaeghe has two children who have attended Skagway, but COVID-19 complications have them temporarily homeschooling.
“I’m thankful to the residents who gave me a vote of confidence,” he said.
On election day, 377 individuals voted in person. Another 110 people voted early/absentee in-person while 53 absentee ballots were mailed out.
One questioned ballot was cast but not counted after the Canvass Board consulted the division of elections to verify registration. Three of the 53 mailed ballots were not returned. A total of 537 votes were cast. With 1,234 registered voters in Skagway, the voter turnout came to 44%.
“There were no glitches,” said Emily Deach, borough clerk. “I was really happy. The election workers did a great job.”
Election results will be certified at the Oct. 15 assembly meeting.