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ChatChat - Claudia Cragg

Oct 15, 2020

Claudia Cragg (@claudiacragg) talks here to Heather Lende, (@HeatherLende) a New York Times bestselling author who writes about her hometown  -- Haines, Alaska, She has been discussing what community means since she published If You Lived Here, I’d Know Your Name in 2006 (selling more than 125,000 copies).  After the 2016 elections, Lende was inspired to take a more active role in politics and decided to run for office in Haines.And…She won!

In OF BEARS AND BALLOTS: An Alaskan Adventure in Small-Town Politics (Algonquin Books)Lende uses her trademark humor, wit, and compassion to tell the funny and entertaining story of her first term on her small-town assembly, where we learn that the political, social, and environmental issues her community faces are not so different from the issues that are being played out on the national stage. 

The book is a "how to guide" for anyone thinking of beginning a career in local politics.  She explains how the local government makes decisions on things that impact us everyday -- roads, schools, zoning for housing and stores, libraries, and the list goes on and on.  “I think that social justice and public health are very much in the realm of local governments, and so much of what happens going forward will fall on the shoulders of people like me— elected to local councils and commissions— and how we interact with the community and the pressure from different interest groups, and I think my experience might help make that work out better than it has previously.” Writes Lende.  “All politics is local, and now more than ever— so why not learn about it from a citizen lawmaker who.. did okay, but was not perfect?”

Heather Lende has contributed essays and commentary to NPR, the New York Times, and National Geographic Traveler, among other newspapers and magazines, and is a former contributing editor at Woman’s Day. A columnist for the Alaska Dispatch News, she is the obituary writer for the Chilkat Valley News in Haines and the recipient of the Suzan Nightingale McKay Best Columnist Award from the Alaska Press Club. Her previous bestselling books are Find the GoodTake Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs, and If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your NameLende was voted Citizen of the Year, Haines Chamber of Commerce, in 2004.

Her website is