By Melinda Munson

Bartender and KHNS board member Deb Potter will fill Assemblymember Steve Burnham’s spot on the Skagway Borough Assembly, with the term expiring in October. 

Assemblymember Sam Bass motioned to appoint resident Christy Murphy at the July 1 assembly meeting. When the motion was not seconded, Assemblymember Dustin Stone motioned to appoint Deb Potter. The final vote was four to one, with Bass voting no.

“I’ve noticed Deb Potter at meetings for well over a year,” said Assemblymember Orion Hanson. “Not just assembly meetings, finance meetings … I think she’s very much paying attention. She’s doing her homework even though she’s not serving.”

Stone spoke about his experience with Potter on the KHNS board, where Potter has served since 2008.

“I’ve always been impressed with her willingness to jump in head first into  projects that need to get done,” Stone said.

Potter spent her first summer in Skagway in 2001. She and her wife, Jen, bought a house in the municipality last year.

A bartender for the Red Onion and the Elks, Potter had to adjust her work schedule to accept the appointment.

“I’m giving up shifts. I’m intentionally working less so I can put in the work,” Potter said.

Potter thinks her profession will help her deal with the stress of being an assembly member.

“A bartender is well suited to this because we naturally have to be thick- skinned, we learn not to take things personally. There is no political talk.”

Potter said there will be absolutely no political conversation while she is at work, but will make time for community members in her off hours.

Skagway assembly members tend to have a signature fashion look. Mayor Andrew Cremata favors suits while Stone leans towards overalls and band tee shirts.

Potter has decided on her choice of clothing.

“It’s button downs and Converse,” she said.