‘Budget watchdog’ Fred Sturman throws in hat for Kenai Borough mayor

Fred Sturman

Longtime Soldotna resident Fred Sturman announced Thursday his intent to run for the Kenai Peninsula Borough mayor’s seat in October’s election.

Sturman, 73, filed his letter of intent with the Alaska Public Offices Commission in early May, but formally announced those intentions last week with “the support and encouragement from hundreds of people,” according to a news release.

He joins Dale Bagley, Ron Long and Debbie Brown in the hunt to fill the seat currently held by mayor David Carey. Carey has not yet stated whether he will run for re-election.

“I just feel like we need some conservatives running and I don’t see a lot of conservatism in the other candidates,” Sturman said. “I feel like with the way the world is going now, we are going to have to start watching our pennies.”

Sturman ran unsuccessfully for borough mayor six years ago and has never held public office, he said.

“I’ve probably attended more borough meetings than anybody that’s never been elected to any office of anybody,” he said. “I’ve done a lot of testimony and I feel like the majority of the people know Fred.”

Sturman said he is one of the founding members of the Alliance of Concerned Taxpayers — a group that previously advocated for items like Borough Assembly term limits, sales tax cap and capital project spending limits to be placed on the ballot.

“Fred has been deeply involved in local government for many years as a budget watchdog and strong vocal advocate for fiscal conservatism,” the release states.

Sturman stated he believes the public has “lost trust in career politicians and their ability or interest in making any change,” according to his release.

“I’ll spend your money like it is my money coming out of my pocket,” he said. “We’ll watch every dollar and spend it as wisely as I can possibly do it.”

He said he has heard a number of concerns from both the private sector and residents about how the borough government is currently being operated.

“Most all of them tell me that their sales are off, their expenses are going up, taxes are going up every year and at this rate, we can’t sustain this kind of spending,” he said. “Something has to give.”

In the next few weeks, Sturman said he plans to roll out a comprehensive platform detailing his ideas for the borough on other issues besides borough finances on his website.

“We’re doing a lot of research on several other problems that the borough has got,” he said. “We are getting numbers from the borough and most of this stuff is pretty big ticket items. We have to make some changes.”

He said he would like to sit down soon with borough employees and get their ideas about running the borough more efficiently.

“They’re the ones who should be able to figure out how to save money and maybe where we can move people around and make stuff more efficient,” he said.

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