As the big time political races across the state and nation heat up, the race for a pair of Kenai city council seats is relatively docile by comparison. Bob Molloy is seeking reelection against Robert Peterkin Jr. and Teea Winger.
Peterkin was unable to attend Wednesday’s candidate forum at the Chamber of Commerce, but Molloy and political newcomer Winger had little disagreement on the big issues for the city.
Molloy has already served on the council for well over a decade. He says he doesn’t bring much of a partisan philosophy to his consideration of issues before the council.
“I look at the job of city council member as, in part, trying to help people in businesses and dealing with issues they have with their city government. For matters that come before the council, I try to listen to both sides, work to be informed, listen to the comments of my colleagues and the city administration (and) keep in mind the best interests of the city.”
A Kenai Central alumna, Teea Winger is in her first race for political office, though she brings some governmental experience having worked with the borough’s Office of Emergency Management as a temporary instructor.
“I am very passionate about disaster preparedness and bringing that knowledge out into the community and giving people life saving skills. That has been one of my biggest passions lately. I do a lot of St. Jude’s work as well. I feel the health of our children should always be the utmost importance. I look forward to working with people such as Bob and getting knowledge from a lot of other people on the boards. I’m here to be passionate and make a difference and bring different insights and energy to the table.”
That table will likely see some discussion about revenues in the next year, particularly how fishing plays a role in the city’s finances. A down year means fewer dollars into the city’s dipnet fishery fund and, potentially, fewer sales tax dollars. But that doesn’t give either Molloy or Winger any reason to think new taxes are needed.
“I am not a fan of new taxes. I think we are facing hard enough times with the reduction of the PFD and that has definitely hurt the private economy. So I would not want to do new tax revenue, but I do feel we need to increase businesses. We need to encourage other business growth. We do have a community of entrepreneurs, so how do we get them involved and establishing their business? Do we need to give them more support? That would be something I would be looking at," Winger said.
Molloy is confident business investment will continue to grow.
“We do have business making, investment, in Kenai. The Kambi theatres, the building has been sitting there forever, is being renovated and is going to be an entertainment center and I appreciate the investment of that business in our community. There’s going to be more sales taxes from that. The dipnet fishery is a unique situation we’ll address. I’m not pessimistic about our property taxes and sales taxes. ”
You’ll be able to hear more from candidates for Kenai city council Wednesday September 26th at 10 a.m. on the Kenai Conversation. The city of Kenai’s elections are at-large, and the top two vote getters in the race will get a three year term. Municipal elections are on October 2nd.