elections

Voters in the Kenai-Soldotna area will have a handful of candidates to choose from this fall when deciding who they want to represent them in the state House of Representatives. One caveat: they’re all conservative, and three are running in the primary on Aug. 18.

District 30 is currently represented by Gary Knopp, a two-term representative from Kenai. He’s running for a third term, but Ron Gillham of Ridgeway, Kelly Wolf of Kenai, and James Baisden of Kenai have all stepped forward to challenge him. Gillham and Wolf are running as Republicans in the primary, while Baisden is running as a nonpartisan candidate in the general.

Campaigning during a pandemic is going to look different this year. Gone are the days of big, in-person town halls and door-to-door canvassing. But that hasn’t stopped a full field of Kenai Peninsula candidates from setting their sights on the Legislature this fall.

House of Representatives District 29 covers Nikiski, part of Cooper Landing, Hope and Seward. First-term Rep. Ben Carpenter, a Nikiski Republican, is running for reelection. He’s got at least one challenger in the fall — Paul Dale, of Nikiski, who filed as a nonpartisan.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough is looking at instituting voting by mail as early as the 2020 elections. Initially, the reason was part of a conciliatory agreement with the Alaska Human Rights Commission over a complaint that borough polling locations lacked accessibility. 

These days, the coronavirus pandemic is adding even more reason to pivot from in-person voting. The borough commissioned a feasibility study on voting by mail from Resource Data, Inc. Dennis Wheeler presented a summary in a work session for the assembly Tuesday. 

“Poll workers are not going to want to get together in confined areas where it’s difficult to social distance and deal with an influx of public to hand out ballots,” Wheeler said. “It’s something to think about — what impact would COVID have on your ability to staff up, as well as what are the voters going to do and how are they going to react.”

HEA ballots due soon

Apr 30, 2020

If you haven’t sent in your ballot for the Homer Electric Association Board of Directors, now is the time. HEA will announce the winners May 7.

Two candidates are running for a District 1 seat, covering Kenai, Nikiski and parts of Soldotna. Jim Duffield, of Kenai, comes from a financial background, having been an accountant and auditor. He is a shareholder and the managing member of JMJ Tax Relief in Kenai. Duffield says he would bring his financial background to serve on the board.

“The rates seem to have continually climbed steadily in the last few years,” Duffield said. “And I don’t feel like that’s really justified. And there’s been a number of good projects that they’ve gotten involved in that have paid off well for the company and for us as users, but there’s also some projects that have not worked out quite so well.”

In this week's show, we hear from candidates for the Homer Electric Association Board of Directors:
District 1: Jim Duffield and Erik Hendrickson

District 2: C.O. Rudstrom

District 3: Troy Jones, Pete Kinneen and Jim Levine

Find candidate resumes here.

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