Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 3:35 PM on Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Challenger: Liz Diament

Profiles of Candidates for house District 30

By Michael Armstrong
Staff Writer

The only Democratic Party candidate for House District 30, Elizabeth L. "Liz" Diament already has locked up her party's nomination and is looking ahead to taking on either the incumbent, Rep. Paul Seaton, or his Republican Party challenger, businessman Jon Faulkner.

"The goal is to get my name out there in the primary season and get people to know who I am and recognize I'm a choice in the general election," Diament said of her campaign strategy.

Democrat

Residence: Fritz Creek

Age: 33

Born: New York, N.Y.

Occupation: General Store/Contract Postal Clerk

In Alaska: Eight years

Alaska communities lived in: Homer/Fritz Creek 2004 to present

Education: University of Delaware 1997-2002, bachelor of arts in photography and philosophy, January 2002, with minor in religious studies

Service organizations membership: Gamma Sigma Sigma Service Sorority, International Jewish College Corp.

Special Interests: Homer Softball Association, North American Scrabble Players Association, club/tournament director, kayaking, hiking, Nordic skiing, fishing and wildlife photography

To Contact:Email: Liz@Lizdiament.comWebsite: www.Lizforalaska.com

Diament, 32 — her name sounds like "diamond" with an "-ent" — came to Homer and Alaska in 2004. Born in New York City and raised in Eastchester, N.Y., in Westchester County, she graduated with a bachelor of arts in philosophy and fine art photography with a minor in religious studies from the University of Delaware, Newark. After graduating she tried to get a job in graphic arts but wound up working as an insurance claims examiner in downtown New York on Wall Street.

"After a year I got burned out," Diament said. "I got in my car and decided New York City was not the place for me. I drove west."

She wound up first in Portland, Ore., living with two Homer women, Carmen Pfeil and Holly Mitchell. In Portland she got active in environmental politics, working for the Tillamook Rain Forest Coalition. When her roommates suggested she try Homer for the summer, she loaded up her red Toyota Celica and drove north. Like a lot of Alaskans who came just for the summer, she's never left.

Since living here she's worked as a U.S. Census worker, at remote wilderness lodges, for the Seldovia Bay Ferry and on two major film productions in Alaska, as a plasterer on "Big Miracle" and a production assistant on "Ghostvision." Currently she works in the contract post office at the Fritz Creek General Store. Diament lives on Ohlson Mountain Road.

With her youth and background as an Alaskan struggling to make a living in rural Alaska, Diament said she thinks she can represent a constituency not present in the Legislature.

"I looked around at the representation in Juneau. I didn't see anybody who fit my profile, somebody starting out and trying to make it here, dealing with the high cost of energy and land," she said. "I grew up with the idea that if you don't feel represented, you should step up and get represented. If that means you should run, that's what you do."

Diament grew up in a politically active family. Her father, now a retired attorney, is a big believer in free speech and freedom of the press.

"He defended a lot of people with odd views," she said. "That's what struck me: Everybody should have a voice, however weird."

In college, Diament had worked with other young Democrats. Discouraged after the 2000 election, she became more active in 2008, and has been involved in Homer Democratic Party politics since the presidential caucuses. State and local Democratic Party officials encouraged her to run.

As Faulkner is trying to do in the primary, should Seaton win she said she can offer a choice.

"I think it's important to have multiple choices up there," Diament said. "I think that's why Faulkner's in it, too — a chance to give people an opportunity if they're not satisfied with what's going on."

Diament looks at Seaton's 10 years in office as making him a career politician, something she doesn't want to be.

"I think all politicians should be somebody who's part of the community and taking a little jaunt down there to represent," she said. "'Citizen legislator' is the term."

Issues important to Diament include health care reform and the environment, particularly maintaining fish habitat, clean water and watersheds. She strongly opposes the Pebble Mine project, an issue she hears voters talk about a lot, some in support. The oil tax issue also is big.

"Most people I've talked to seem to think the oil companies need to prove that the tax break we're going to give them are going to come back to benefit us," Diament said.

As a younger person running for office, Diament said she sees another reason to be in the race.

"People of my generation don't always show up in the number they should," she said. "I hope that by my running it will encourage them to participate in the process."

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