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Pierce retains seat, Smith and Smalley winners on assembly ballot

Posted: October 4, 2011 - 11:39pm  |  Updated: October 5, 2011 - 8:36am

Charlie Pierce, incumbent assembly member for the Sterling/Funny River district, said he wasn't nervous heading into Tuesday's election that pitted him against political rookie Eileen K. Sverdrup.

"I think that the best place to be fired is at the ballot box, so if the voters had not supported me then it would have been an indication that I hadn't been doing my job," he said. "I feel that I have done an effective job and that the numbers demonstrate that."

With two of the three district precincts reporting, Pierce appears to have another term on the assembly locked up after receiving 66.87 percent of the vote, or 541 votes. Sverdrup gathered 32.51 percent, or 263 votes.

"I'm pleased, but I am disappointed in the overall voter turnout," Pierce said.

"It is kind of disappointing that a small percentage of the people that live in the borough actually make the decisions for the majority of the people that live here."

However, Pierce said he looked forward to serving another term. He felt the current assembly was a good working group, but they can always do better, he said.

"We got some unfinished business and we got some things that we need to do," he said.

Sverdrup said she was disappointed but not discouraged by the election. She is glad she ran, and said the area "couldn't go wrong" with Pierce.

"Charlie is a good man and I like him," she said. "I got introduced mostly to the political scene this year and it was a good experience for me actually. I have got a lot I can improve on to get my ideas out to the voters and I need to learn from those things and I thought it was a great season."

She confirmed that she would consider running for the seat again in the future, but added she would like to be "a little more active" as a citizen to bring ideas before the assembly.

"Nobody can be disappointed to not have the work load that it would have taken, so it is quite a commitment if you do get elected," she said. "So my hat is off to everybody who makes an effort and gets out there and does it."

Incumbent assembly member Hal Smalley, who ran unopposed for the Kenai district assembly seat, joked that it was a "hard-fought campaign."

Smalley received 95.41 percent of the vote, or 624 votes; 30 write-in votes were counted, totaling 4.59 percent of the result.

He said he wanted to thank his supporters and was looking forward to continuing to serve the public.

"It's a great group of folks to work with, I enjoy what I am doing and I'm looking forward to another year," he said.

In the most crowded of the Kenai Peninsula Borough assembly races, District 8 incumbent Bill Smith easily won re-election over his two opponents.

With 80 percent of votes counted in the district, Smith led with 47 percent to second-place finisher and political newcomer Kelly Cooper, who had 30 percent. Rounding out the field was Homer City Council Member Bryan Zak, with 23 percent.

Smith and Cooper both credited his name recognition with giving Smith his win.

"If you've been in there a few years you get some name recognition," Smith said. "I think it's an affirmation of the work I've been doing."

"Congratulations to Bill," Cooper said. "He's done a good job. I respect that and I think he'll do fine."

That civility marked the campaign. With no burning issues, campaign forums and debates tended to be friendly and amicable.

Homer News reporter Michael Armstrong contributed to this report.


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bluffbunny 10/19/11 - 02:52 pm
who enforces the Alaska Statutes?

I have nothing against Mr. Smith, but I DEEPLY RESENT the way the current Assembly has subverted the vote of the people prior to the election held Oct. 4th.

The Alaska Statute that was in effect until October 14, 2011, would have prevented Mr. Smith from SERVING on the Assembly, as he would have been 'term limited out' , but Assembly members SUBVERTED the initiative passed in 2009, which very clearly spelled out what a 'term' was. They claimed the people 'didn't understand what they voted for'.

By "re-defining" what the word TERM means, they didn't even have to put the issue back on the ballot for the voters to decide. Allowing those 9 people to change the Statute by simply 're-defining' words, is a dangerous precedent.

At first it could be asked why the Assembly spent months, deciding why to change the term limit issue as passed by the voters, for just one person. But then the matter of REAPPORTIONMENT comes into play, and it is possible that ALL of the current Assembly members could be up for re-election next year! So you can see how self-serving their action was. Heaven forbid! It might mean that rather than obeying the law as it was, by re-defining what the word TERM means, they will be assured more time on the Assembly.

After wrangling, stewing and amending for an extended period of time, they now have guaranteed themselves AT LEAST 8 YEARS on the Assembly. Didn't they have anything more urgent to work on? Evidently not.

There are still legal questions ongoing, as to whether it is lawful to have granted another term to one person, who was by law term-limited out, by 're-defining' what a term is. Do you see how little they care about your vote?

Maybe it's time to 'term limit' them ALL out, at the next election?

witchwitch 10/19/11 - 06:32 pm
Could be time to do a FIFTH term limits initiative...

Fighting it out in the court system is very problematic. IF you win, and you will be arguing against the entire Borough legal department plus any other specialist that the Borough may choose to hire.

We could do ANOTHER term limits initiative, but when the states two year rule is routinely violated, then you may have to be prepared to do a term limits initiative EVERY YEAR.

That's why I am voting for Fred Sturman and will vote for a new Assembly person at the next available opportunity. When our elected officials sit on their hands and pretend that all is good and that we the people have rights, but do nothing in the face of blatant violations, they need to be replaced.

This is a very ugly problem and anyone who evaluates the issue will realize that our liberty and right to the initiative process has been ignored and is likely to continue to be ignored, until we replace elected officials that refuse to support the rights of the people.

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