Homer Alaska - Opinion

Story last updated at 4:54 PM on Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Don't ignore it: election season is here

In your already too full schedule, mark these important dates on your calendar: July 29, Aug. 1, Aug. 15, Aug. 28, Oct. 2 and Nov. 6.

With summer in full bloom, it's easy to put politics on the back burner. But the election season is upon us, and if we don't pay attention now, we're likely to be sorry later. For starters, the state primary is Aug. 28; if you want to participate in the primary you must register or update your voter registration info by July 29.

This is particularly important this year, because most of the real races will be in the primary, plus voters are being asked to decide two important ballot measures.

In District 30, Rep. Paul Seaton is being challenged by fellow Republican Jon Faulkner. Democrat Elizabeth Diament will face the winner of that race in the Nov. 6 general election.

In Senate District O, which now includes the southern peninsula, Soldotna Mayor Peter Micciche is challenging incumbent Sen. Tom Wagoner of Kenai. Both candidates are Republicans and the winner of the primary race faces no opposition in the general election. Wagoner and Micciche are well known in the central peninsula, but not so much in the Homer area. Now is the time to get to know them.

In addition, nine people are running to be Alaska's lone representative in the U.S. House. Incumbent Congressman Don Young is being challenged by fellow Republicans John R. Cox and Terre L. Gales. Five Democrats also are running, as is one Libertarian.

If you want to have a say in the primary, you need to pay close attention to your voter registration. Under the Republican Party's primary rules, members of other political parties cannot choose the Republican Party with Ballot Measures ballot. To vote that ballot, people must be registered as Republican, nonpartisan or undeclared. Any registered voter can choose the Alaska Democratic Party, Alaska Libertarian Party and Alaskan Independence Party Candidate with Ballot Measures ballot. Voters also may choose the Ballot Measures Only ballot.

Ballot Measure No. 1 would allow a city or borough to raise the property tax exemption on a residence from $20,000 to at most $50,000. Ballot Measure No. 2 would establish an Alaska Coastal Management Program.

Aug. 1 is another important election date to remember. It's when the filing period opens for city and borough offices. The filing period closes Aug. 15. The municipal election is Oct. 2. Seats up for grabs this year in Homer include the mayor's, as well as the council seats now held by Francie Roberts and Beau Burgess.

For the Kenai Peninsula Borough, the south peninsula assembly seat now held by Mako Haggerty will be on the ballot, as will Liz Downing's Homer seat on the school board. There are four seats up for election on the Anchor Point Fire and Emergency Service Area Board, two seats on the Kachemak Emergency Service Area Board, five seats on the Seldovia Recreational Service Area Board and four seats on the South Peninsula Hospital Service Area board.

If you ever had a desire to make a difference by serving in an elected position, this may be the opportunity that's knocking.

In any event, now is the time to pay attention to people seeking election to statewide and national office and to begin thinking about running for a local seat. Summer just got a little — or a lot — busier.