Six candidates from Bethel are running for three Bethel City Council seats. KYUK is profiling these candidates in the coming days before the Oct. 4 election. Our third profile in the series is Mary Nanuwak. Nanuwak is a former nurse who has been living in Bethel off and on since the 1960's. For the past few years Nanuwak has religiously attended City Council meetings in Bethel, making her options known at the beginning of each meeting.
To listen to the full interview, go to the bottom of the page.
Nanuwak: My name is Mary Nanuwak and I'm running for the City Council because I've lived in Bethel a long time and I've worked in Bethel a long time. When I see something that needs to be improved I do something about it. Plus I can speak the language. I know that about problems with health issues, alcohol, and drug addictions and suicides. People doing drugs and they get into activities that they normally wouldn't get into. Whenever we lose a young person who's very sharp, very smart, and then something comes up where they commit suicide, I always feel those things are very preventable.
KYUK: How would you reduce addiction and suicide?
Nanuwak: I would reduce addiction and suicide through education.
KYUK- How long have you lived in Bethel and how are you involved in the community?
Nanuwak: I first came to Bethel when I was seventeen years old to work at the old hospital, and then I took four years off to get my Bachelors of Science Degree in Nursing, but every summer I came back and worked. I first moved here in 1963, and then again in 1973. And then I got sick so I was in Anchorage until March of 2015, when I came back again.
KYUK: How are you involved in the community of Bethel?
Nanuwak: I'm actually more involved than anyone thinks I am. I do a lot of voluntary things and I listen to people. And when somebody needs to talk to somebody, I don't turn them away.
KYUK: Why are you qualified to serve on City Council?
Nanuwak: I'm very aware of all the issues that need to be improved or solved. I'm a very good listener, I'm very observant. I keep up to date with anything and everything that concerns us as citizens. I keep up to date with everything.
KYUK: I know you attend almost every City Council meeting and speak under people to be heard.
Nanuwak: Yes, and I do that because ever since I started coming to the City Council meetings. Every meeting these things are discussed and nothing gets done or groups like the marijuana committee and the planning committee don't meet for a lot of whatever reasons. I come because I feel like I have something to offer, I make suggestions and when I complain, I don't just complain I also offer suggestions.
KYUK: Why should people vote for you?
Nanuwak: People should vote for me because whatever I commit myself to, I'm super-duper-ultra-committed. And whatever I do I take it seriously. I have a lot to offer. Like I said I'm a good listener, and I speak the language, and I'm a good translator. A lot of times even when people are speaking I can see a lot of things.
KYUK; Mary, thank you.
Nanuwak: You're welcome, and thank you.