Story last updated at 12:44 p.m. Thursday, May 2, 2002

Seaton to challenge Scalzi for House seat
by Hal Spence
Morris News Service-Alaska

Citing serious differences over fisheries bills sponsored or forwarded by Rep. Drew Scalzi, R-Homer, a Kachemak City fisherman last week declared his intent to try to unseat the first-term incumbent in the Aug. 27 Republican primary.

Paul Seaton, a resident of Kachemak City, filed a letter of intent with the Alaska Public Offices Commission on April 23 declaring his intent to run for the Legislature. Tuesday, Seaton confirmed he would oppose Scalzi, who he says does not represent the views of many fishermen, nor other Republicans on the lower Kenai Peninsula.

"It's going to be an uphill battle," Seaton admitted, adding that he knows his opponent is well-liked. "It's not a personality thing and I'm not running because I don't like Drew. It's because I don't believe the people of this district are being well represented."

Seaton said Scalzi's moves to change Alaska fisheries law may be well intentioned, but they are ill-timed.

He opposes House Bill 206, which would allow corporate owners of vessels to own Bering Sea Korean hair crab and weathervane scallop permits. It goes against the state's long-standing philosophy of individual ownership, he said.

Scalzi said Tuesday the bill was requested by the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission, which was trying to meet a legislative mandate to find a better limited entry system. It passed the House by a nearly unanimous vote.

Seaton also opposes Scalzi's House Bill 284, which would ease conflict of interest restrictions on Alaska Board of Fisheries members. Seaton said it could open the system to abuse.

Seaton opposes House Bill 288, a measure aimed at reducing the number of permits in certain fisheries.

Seaton is 56, married and has two grown children. He has never held public office but is a member of several organizations, including the Alaska Marine Conservation Council and the United Fishermen of Alaska.

<> Hal Spence is a reporter for the Peninsula Clarion