Editor's note: The date of when Paul Seaton was first elected to the House of Representatives has been corrected. He was elected in 2002 and started in the Legislature in 2003.
Editor’s Note: As part of Homer News coverage leading up to the Aug. 16 primary, in this week’s edition we introduce the candidates running for the District 31 House seat and give their responses to a set of questions. The candidates were individually interviewed and asked the same questions, with responses edited for length. Next week, the candidates will have the opportunity to write on the issues of their choice. For additional questions and longer answers from the candidates, please go to HomerNews.Com.
Candidates Paul Seaton, Mary “Beth” Wythe and John Cox will take part in debates hosted by the Homer Public library and the Homer Chamber of Commerce over the next week.
Both forums are open to the public.
The chamber debate will address topics important to the local business community, including taxes, schools, renewable energy, health care, state budget and local jobs.
Andy Haas will moderate the forum hosted by the Friends of the Homer Library at 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 5, at the Homer Public Library.
As of noon Wednesday, two candidates have filed for city office. Homer City Council member Bryan Zak has filed for mayor and Homer Advisory Planning Commissioner Tom Stroozas has filed for city council. Zak and council member Gus VanDyke’s seats are up for election. Both are 3-year terms. Homer Mayor Beth Wythe’s seat also is up for election. It has a 2-year term. Wythe announced last year that she is not running for re-election and instead is challenging Rep. Paul Seaton, R-Homer, for Republican Party nomination for the House District 31 seat.
In the Republican Party race for House District 31 Representative, contributions have ranged from just $400 for John Cox to $24,047 for the incumbent, Rep. Paul Seaton, according to Alaska Public Offices Commission filings as of July 15.
Only members of the Republican Party or nonpartisan or undeclared voters may vote this ballot. All names are listed in the order and as they appear on the ballot. All candidates are Republican Party members.
Wright, Stephen T.
Heikes, Gerald L.
Tingley, Jesse J. “Messy”
State Senator, District P
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders stood out at the Alaska Democratic caucuses on Saturday as the clear winner. Sanders received 81.6 percent of the delegates and 79.6 percent of the votes, according to results released by the Alaska Democratic Party.
The 10,617 Alaskans who attended caucuses across the state equaled 119 percent of the 2008 turnout.
Members of the Alaska Democratic Party get their chance to vote for their party’s presidential candidate when the party holds meetings statewide on Saturday morning. Unlike the Republican Party’s presidential preference poll, held on March 1 in which party members voted on a ballot, Democrats select their candidate through a caucus.
Editor's note: This story was changed to correct the date of the special election for Proposition 1. The election is Dec. 1.
In unofficial results in a run-off election for a Homer City Council seat, political newcomer Heath Smith easily beat incumbent city council member Beauregard Burgess with 310 votes to Burgess’ 192, a 118-vote margin.
With 115 absentee votes and two special needs votes to be counted, or 117 votes total, Burgess still could not win even if he took every one of the uncounted votes.
Some years ago as I stood in the national archives building and read from the original copy of our Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, I could not help but reflect on Lincoln’s closing words in his Gettysburg address ”...and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
I first ran for Homer City Council more than three years ago, because I wanted to put a simple idea to the test — Could an elected official be someone I could trust and respect and still get re-elected? Can a politician be transparent, clear on his position, approach each issue with regard for evidence rather than preconception? Can people tolerate or even appreciate issued-based discourse?
In Tuesday’s runoff election for one Homer City Council seat, incumbent Beauregard Burgess faces a challenge by political newcomer Heath Smith. Smith came in second in the Oct. 6 election, with 408 votes or 37 percent of the votes for a single seat, closely followed by Burgess with 391 votes or 35 percent.
Absentee voting in person is 8 a.m.-5 p.m. today, Friday and Monday at Homer City Hall. Polls are open from 7 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday at Homer No. 1, City Hall, and Homer No. 2, Homer Senior Citizens.
In the District 9 Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly race between two political novices, Willy Dunne, 60, handily defeated Dawson Slaughter, 25, with 56.26 percent to 43.51 percent of the vote in unofficial results.
Dunne, of Fritz Creek, led in all precincts except Slaughter’s hometown of Anchor Point, where Slaughter won with 68.56 percent.
In the other lower peninsula borough race, incumbent school board member Elizabeth Downing ran unopposed and took 98 percent of the votes.
Our city of Homer, in my opinion, is one of the best places to live. Now, I’ll admit, I didn’t always feel this way. The lack of opportunities for young families combined with weather that was and is sometimes undesirable created in me a storm of discontent.
As I grew up and started a family with my most favorite person, my opinion started to change. I noticed things I hadn’t noticed before. Things like how everyone seems to really care about your kids in the schools. They don’t just say they care; they actually do.
As if it were cemented in time, the earliest memory of my entry to Homer, in 1974, is canvased onto the outside wall of the bathrooms at Paul Banks Elementary School. That mural is an enduring legacy to the imaginations of a wide-eyed group of 3rd-5th graders.
Homer is a unique place on earth that attracts a wide diversity of people to live and work here. Collectively, we are responsible for determining and maintaining the quality of life that fulfills the needs of the vast majority of our residents.
In spite of evidence to the contrary, I believe most people can make good decisions if provided with good information. My only intent when first seeking political office in 2012 was to test this belief. Unlike the other five candidates running for City Council this year, I’m running on my record — a record of clarity, honesty, integrity and action.
Members of the City Council serve the community, and I would be honored to represent the residents of Homer in this capacity. I believe I bring several skills to the position: listening, objectivity, the ability and interest to delve below the surface of issues, and an understanding of how decisions on complex issues can affect City residents deeply.
There are a number of important issues facing the citizens of Homer today but none more important than electing the two best candidates to City Council leadership for the next three years. Spending must be reined in and the budget must be balanced. And listening to the voters of Homer and giving them true representation is my pledge. The “health, safety and welfare” of our community depends upon it.
Has the borough struck the proper balance between sales tax and property tax? Are changes to the tax structure needed?