The race for the borough assembly seat in district one, representing the K-Beach area and parts of Kenai and Soldotna, remains uncontested. Brent Hibbert is seeking reelection for a full three year term. He made his way to the assembly in 2016 when Gary Knopp was elected to the House of Representatives. The longtime owner of Alaska Cab Company spoke with KDLL’s Shaylon Cochran this week about his first partial term and what he would like to get done in the next three years.
Brent Hibbert: “The year and nine months has been a learning process. I’ve found that you need patience and nothing happens fast. And we have a great group of assembly people there and the clerk’s office. They’re great help, help you work things and learn.”
Shaylon Cochran: “Maybe you could tells us about why you decided to get into local politics in the first place, what drove that decision and why you’re seeking reelection now.
BH: “I’m a business owner, of course, and have gotten to that place in time. I have a great crew at my office that can take care of things and now I have some time to give back. This community...I moved here in 1984. I’ve seen a lot of growth and this community has helped me out tremendously and I just want to give back.
SC: “Have you always run the cab business? When did that start?
BH: “1990. I worked construction and in the oil field before that.”
SC: “What were some things, as a business owner, you wanted to bring some attention to on the assembly?”
BH: “I don’t know that I wanted to bring anything. I never had an agenda on the assembly, I just wanted to give back and help. You don’t see a whole lot of people running for elections and for these positions. Sometimes you can understand why.”
SC: “Looking back over the last not-quite two years, what are some of the issues that you were interested in working on?”
BH: “Schools, of course, is a big one. I believe in funding schools and keeping those healthy and teaching our kids. That is our future. Keeping the budget balanced. We’re not quite there, but we’re working through that and we’ll get there.”
SC: “Maybe you could talk about some of the things the assembly has done or the ways you’ve worked with the administration to bring those numbers in line.”
BH: “The administration has done a good job at cutting. We had some key personnel leave and they didn’t replace them right away, so that helped with the budget. This year, we had additional sales tax of $1.5 million that we hadn’t projected. We got some additional PILT money of a million dollars, Forest Service gave us half a million dollars...so with all these different pots of money that we did receive, our deficit was at four million and it’s looking like we’re right around a a million or less...Looking ahead, some of this money we got this year, is not going to be sustainable. We’re not going to get it next year, so we’re probably going to have to look for some new revenue somewhere, but not as much.”
SC: “If you’d like to take the opportunity to give folks the reason they should cast their vote for you.”
BH: “Small business owner, been here on the Peninsula since ‘84. I think I bring common sense to the assembly and business sense. I would encourage everybody to get out, exercise their vote and contact us, talk to us. Don’t be afraid. I enjoy having somebody come into my office or give me a phone call and talk to me about their issues and their problems or their concerns and their ideas, of course.”