House District 29

Sabine Poux/KDLL

Nearly two weeks after Election Day, leading candidates for the Kenai Peninsula’s state House and Senate races can finally declare victory.

The Alaska Division of Elections finished counting the absentee ballots received for several districts this weekend, including District 29, where Rep. Ben Carpenter is on track for reelection, and District 30, where newcomer Ron Gillham has secured the seat previously occupied by Rep. Gary Knopp.

There is still a chance some absentee ballots arrive from overseas before Nov. 18. But those would only amount to a few, if any, said Tiffany Montemayor of the Division of Elections. Results remain “unofficial” until certification later this month.

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.

Jenny Neyman/KDLL

Candidates for the Northern Kenai Peninsula House District 29 agreed on more issues than not in a forum held by the Kenai and Soldotna Chambers of Commerce on Wednesday in Kenai. There were differences in priorities and approaches, however.

Ben Carpenter is a 1993 Nikiski High School graduate who is retiring from 21 years of military service this year. He has a peony farm with his family and works as project manager for Epperheimer, Inc., and says his lack of political experience is a mark in his favor.

“We cannot continue to do the same thing that we’ve always done. We cannot continue to think the same way that we’ve always thought and expect different results. We need people out of the communities who have never participated in politics to step forward and get involved. And that is the only way that we are going to right this state,” Carpenter said.

His first priority is cutting government.


Retired Lt. Col. leads in HD29 fundraising

Jul 30, 2018
Shawn Butler for State Representative

  In our continuing series of interviews with candidates for Alaska State House and Senate, we bring you Shawn Butler of Hope. She is running as a non-partisan in the primary for District 29, which stretches from Nikiski, to Hope, Funny River and Seward.

State of Alaska

  It's an even numbered year, so you can count on election stories to increase through the fall. Locally, on Saturday, the District 29 and 30 Democrats met - separately - to take care of some party business, and to prepare for their convention, the primary election and the general.

Michele Vasquez is the chair of District 30, which includes Kenai and Soldotna. She said one long-time local leader offered some timely resolutions that delegates will bring to the state convention in May.