The field of candidates for local elections this fall is nearly settled. The filing deadline is later this week. In Soldotna, two council seats will be open. Lisa Parker is running for reelection to seat E. Pamela Parker is running for seat D, currently held by Tim Cashman. Former Soldotna and Borough mayor Dave Carey has also filed to run for seat D.
Originally from Florida, Parker and husband Matt started Everything Bagels in Soldotna in 2016. She says small business development would be a focus as a council member.
“(That means) not only promoting a diverse economic climate in the area, but also promoting small business development in the area. I would love to see more local businesses, more small businesses. I think that really improves the quality of life in our town, and I would like to support policies that encourage new business owners to come to Soldotna, or encourages folks that already live here maybe to start a business or diversify some of the things they’re already doing.”
Parker already works toward those broad goals as a member of the Kenai Peninsula Tourism and Marketing Council Board of Directors. But she also sees a bigger role for the city in promoting local business. Some of that comes in the form of making the city more pedestrian-friendly, another goal of Parker’s.
“(The city) is looking at how to make Soldotna more bike friendly and pedestrian friendly, and that’s something that I want to continue to encourage as well. I think it would be great if folks can walk from their homes, down to the river, along the boardwalk, out to Swiftwater and then back through town and stop at a local restaurant and don’t have to worry about the dangers that sometimes come along with crossing busy roads. Or they feel comfortable letting their children walk places in town. So that’s definitely one of my focuses as well, is accessibility throughout town.”
But, she also recognizes the challenges in funneling more people along the river, no matter how they get there. Time on the city’s planning and zoning commission has also provided some insight, Parker says.
“I got a glimpse into local government, how things operate and I’m very passionate about what the city of Soldotna is doing. I wanted to play my part in continuing their positive efforts and continue helping steer the city in a good direction. (I) love living here. My husband and I chose Soldotna because of the small business climate, the recreational opportunities and how close-knit the community feels. I just want to keep making Soldotna an even better place to live.”
If elected Parker would serve a three year term. The filing period for candidates is Thursday, August 15th.