Voters in House District 29 will have a new name to consider on the ballot this fall. Nikiski resident Paul Dale announced his candidacy this week.
Dale is a lifelong Alaskan who has lived in Nikiski since 1989. He and his wife, Brenda, started Snug Harbor Seafoods in 1990, employing at least 250 people every summer until they sold the majority of the company’s assets last year.
Dale says he’s been wanting to run for the Legislature for 30 years, but business kept him too busy.
“I’ve been interested in politics all of my life, Alaskan politics. And I got sidelined with developing Snug Harbor Seafoods and at that time it was easy to focus on family and business. We sold most of the assets six months ago and I now do have time to try my hand at elected politics,” Dale said.
Dale was on the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly from 1983-85, where he worked to establish the Kenai River Special Management Area. He’s also served on the boards of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, Alaska Salmon Alliance and the Alaska Fisheries Marketing Board. Dale was a staffer for Kenai Rep. Hugh Malone and worked in Juneau the year the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend legislation was passed.
He says he thinks there’s a growing consensus among Alaskans who believe the state can’t afford a statutory dividend amount these days. As for the budget, Dale would bring his experience as a businessman to Juneau.
“I think that my particular approach is to not immediately have the answers but to have the skills to work with a team of people to bring some solutions forward and get them adopted. I think most Alaskans understand well, mostly, what needs to be done. Budgets to a business person are sacrosanct, you know, they’re balanced. You have revenues, you have expenditures. They have to be in balance and I’m a real believer in that,” he said.
Dale is running as a nonpartisan independent and says he’s more interested in finding solutions than playing politics.
“I believe the major party leadership, Republican and Democrat, have gotten more concerned with their organizations than is healthy for achieving moderate successes. And I don’t want to feed that. I think the best solutions are found among people that can appreciate each effort at solving that problem, regardless of their political affiliation,” he said.
So far, Dale is the only candidate for House District 29, which represents Nikiski, Sterling, Cooper Landing, Moose Pass, Seward and Hope. Incumbent Ben Carpenter, a Nikiski Republican, has said he plans to run for re-election.
House District 30, which covers Kenai, Soldotna and Kalifornsky, is up for election this year, as well. Incumbent Gary Knopp, a Republican, from Kenai, so far is the only candidate to have filed for that seat.
The filing deadline is 5 p.m. June 1.