The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

General Election Candidates — State Legislature


What are the top three concerns regarding your district

and what do you propose should be done about them?

Mike Chenault

House District 28 • Republican • Nikiski

First, I would want to know what the city of Seward’s and the Kenai Peninsula Borough will list as priorities. I normally do not attempt to seek funding without guidance from our local governments. I will say the Seward Marine Industrial Park expansion to accommodate the recent CDQ fleet expansion is extremely important to Seward and will provide economic opportunities for the community.

I am very supportive of infrastructure and equipment that will help protect our property and homes. As an example, I secured funding for the Bear Creek Fire Department community multi-use facility and the Moose Pass renovations for its fire station and community facility this past session as well as other fire stations around the Peninsula.

Road improvements are definitely one of priorities. It is time to quit studying the Sterling Highway in the Cooper Landing area and begin the reconstruction or at a minimum straighten out the dangerous curves on both ends of that section of highway. The current road has many hazards as most of you know and needs to be addressed. I have also been able to direct millions of dollars to the Kenai Peninsula Borough to improve borough roads and will make every effort to continue local road improvements, particularly in the eastern side of my district.

AVTEC is another boost to the local economy and it is an example of how we should be preparing the work force to learn the many different skills and crafts that will be required by employers. If and when we start construction of an in-state gasline, entities such as AVTEC will play a key role in providing an Alaskan work force to carry out the many jobs I foresee occurring. The Seward Sea Life Center is another organization that provides an economic boost to the eastern half of the Peninsula as well. I have worked to help meet the needs for that facility as well.

I look forward to serving you in the next legislative session and meeting with our local officials in determining what they view as the local priorities. It is important that life, health and safety as well as economic engines be supported by not only me, but the communities of which I serve.

Cathy Giessel

Senate District N • Repulican • Anchorage

I look forward to working with Seward and area citizens to address issues they have shared with me.

Recent floods point out the need for proactive steps: effective levees, appropriate dredging, appropriate future land use designations. Levees failed in canyons as the typhoon-like rains dumped water. Now is the time to design and install levees that will withstand the forces of the water. Dredging gravel that continuously comes down the creeks must be done pre-emptively, to keep water in present channels, protecting property. This is going to require sensible policy agreements with the State of Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Borough, the City of Seward and local residents. Local government and the Borough must establish sensible land use in flood plains. I saw the recent event unfold, and walked an area where a box canyon levee was taken out. I look forward to working with DNR to assure that the State is a sensible participant in crafting pro-active solutions.

The future industrial harbor, to be used by one of the Community Development Quota (CDQ) Program fishing fleets, is an exciting opportunity for Seward. This development will bring numerous good-paying jobs, not only for construction, but also operations of the facility. There will be a need for partnership between the City of Seward, the Kenai Peninsula Borough, the State of Alaska and the CDQ Program. I look forward to doing my part to move this opportunity forward!

Transportation is a central issue in our District, containing nearly the full length of the Seward Highway. Safety issues and maintenance of our roads are always on task list. I communicate with the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOTPF) often. I will continue to work with you and DOTPF to keep transportation corridors open and safe.

I am a big supporter of Career and Technical Education (CTE). The workforce needed for the construction and operation of the above projects could be trained at AVTEC in Seward. This State of Alaska Institute of Technology is a real gem in Seward. AVTEC offers diverse education programs, preparing students for productive jobs that support families. I cosponsored legislation to increase funding for CTE in both high school and junior high. Nikiski Middle and High School is developing some great CTE courses for their students. I look forward to continuing to support all CTE in our District schools and colleges.

I support hiring our trained, work-ready Alaskans first! My opponent claims to support “Alaska hire” but huge amounts of his campaign money going “Outside” makes me wonder. So far he has sent $50,000 to Oregon and Texas to run his campaign, polling and media (APOC reporting). He moved his campaign manager, apparently an Oregonian, up here and lists his house as her address. Not exactly walking his talk about hiring Alaskans!

Let’s prepare and get Alaskans to work! Career and Technical Education equips students with marketable skills that employers need. These courses are interesting, challenging and keep students in school. It is education that works!

Ron Devon

Senate District N • Non-Affiliated • Anchorage

My main concern for the East Kenai Peninsula is basic representation. Seward and the surrounding communities elected Senate President Gary Stevens (R) - a coalition builder, a statesman, a senator who is fully-staffed, and who used his leadership position to successfully advocate for constituents. In South Anchorage, which now shares your district, we have for many years been represented by Senators who willfully opted out of a majority coalition and thus have smaller staffs, no leadership positions, and minimal influence over support coming to the district. South Anchorage has suffered because my opponent has chosen to give up a seat at the table over personal ideology. I think that’s wrong, and it’s part of the reason I’m running. You deserve to continue to be represented by someone who can fully do the job, and will work with others, not just knock on other legislators’ doors asking for help, or hoping for a committee assignment.

Seward and the surrounding area had a big wakeup call during the recent flooding. I came to Seward and saw incredible first responders and volunteers working hard, and neighbors helping neighbors. It reminded me of the old Alaska I knew. Flooding in Seward is a recurring hazard. It’s not a question of “if” but “when” we’ll be faced with a similar situation. We can’t control Mother Nature, but we can take steps to prevent or minimize future damage like removing gravel from stream beds, and getting rid of the government red tape that makes that difficult. I respect the fact that Seward knows what’s best for Seward, and what needs to happen to make your community safer and more secure. I will not presume to tell you what needs to be done, but I will actively listen and advocate hard for your community-based solutions, and state support for preventative measures.

It’s not only concern I feel for the Eastern Peninsula - I’m also excited! The port expansion that will allow us to keep our fleet home for the winter makes economic sense and common sense. I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work advocating for infrastructure projects, safety improvements to roads and flood hazard areas, and other important issues.

You have a very clear choice in this race.

As your senator, I will work to make sure Alaskans are respected in negotiations with resource developers. I fully support the Constitutional mandate of good public education. I support your right to privacy, to bear arms, and minimal government involvement in your life. I believe a woman’s reproductive decisions should be between her, her doctor, her family and her faith – not government bureaucracy. As a retired small business owner I know the value of a dollar, will promote a pro-business environment, low taxes and less red tape for entrepreneurs, and preference for good stable jobs that go to Alaskans. I will always stand up for our independent Alaskan values.

I invite you to, and would be honored to have your vote on November 6.


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