Homer Alaska - Opinion

Story last updated at 6:07 PM on Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Navarre is best candidate for KPB mayor

Scan the Help Wanted ads of almost any newspaper's classified ad section and you'll likely reach this conclusion: Experience counts. It's one of the first ways job candidates are separated. Those with some experience for the job for which they are applying have a leg up on those who do not. There are reasons for that: Training for a specific job, no matter how well qualified a candidate may otherwise be, takes time and time means money. Employers want to know that a candidate has the aptitude for the job and prior experience is one way to determine that.

Before voters go to the polls on Tuesday they need to ask themselves why that should not also be the case when electing a borough mayor. Experience in government should not be a bad thing when running for the job of borough mayor. And that's the other thing voters should not forget — being borough mayor is a job, an important job.

The position really is that of being the CEO or the manager of the borough, running the largest enterprise in the Kenai Peninsula Borough. It's a job with real responsibilities, taking care of the day-to-day business of running the borough. It's not a ceremonial job, where the mayor can fill his days with ribbon-cuttings, glad handing and solving the world's (or the borough's) problems over a cup of coffee — although that's certainly expected.

There's only one candidate in Tuesday's runoff who has the government and private business experience, as well as the education, to do the job successfully: Mike Navarre.

Mr. Navarre served in the state Legislature (1985-1996) and as borough mayor (1996-1999) and he has successfully run and grown his family's private businesses for the past 12 years. He has contacts in both government (he served in the Legislature with Gov. Sean Parnell) and the private business world that will help him get things done for the borough.

As a board member of the Kenai Boys and Girls Club since 1997, he has community experience and concerns that resonate with Homer, including understanding how important it is to keep the Homer Boys and Girls Club open.

With today's climate of distrust for government at the national level, some may try to paint Mr. Navarre's government experience as a weakness. It's not. He has not been a career politician, and his years running private businesses that have followed his public service will make him an even better mayor than he was in the 1990s. He has the experience to see the impacts of government from both sides. That's a strength, not a weakness.

The outcome of Tuesday's election depends on voters going to the polls. While runoffs traditionally mean a sparse turnout, the borough — which is everyone who lives here — deserves better than a handful of voters making the important decision of who will run borough government.

When voters go to the polls on Tuesday to choose a borough mayor, they would do themselves and the entire borough a favor by choosing the most well qualified candidate for the job, the person who understands all that the job entails, the man who has the relevant experience and education to run the borough, and that's Mr. Navarre.

Polls are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday. Can't make it next week or want to beat the rush? Absentee voting in person is going on now at Homer City Hall today, Friday and Monday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. You also can vote absentee in person from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. today, Friday and Monday at the Kenai Peninsula Borough Annex on Pioneer Avenue. Voters who can't get to local precincts on Tuesday also can vote at the annex from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday.