Challenger James Rowell and incumbents Ryan Marquis and Bob Molloy are competing for two Kenai City council seats up for grabs in the Oct. 2 municipal election.
The seats are for a three-year term.
Rowell said he is running because it is “practically a moral obligation.” If he wants to see a change in the city, he said, then he should try to bring it about, himself.
“If you think you can make a difference, if you think you can help,” the 46-year-old resident said, “you need to throw your hat in the ring and see what can come of it yourself.”
He said any event that gathers the community and generates year-round revenue for the city would be an improvement, though he is already impressed with the number of community events the city hosts.
“Like the Saturday market that they do over in front of the visitor center,” he said. “That’s a terrific idea. I love that thing.”
He also wants to see more support for the city’s debt reduction.
He has always looked for ways to improve certain topics, he said; now he wants the chance.
“I like the political process and, with the way things are going with the country today, your best chance of getting something done that’s actually going to affect people’s lives is local politics.”
Marquis, 30, has already served one term on council. He has also served a year as vice mayor.
Marquis said he will work to improve the city government’s relationship with its community members.
“I want more people to feel like the city is going to respect their needs,” he said, “that we’ll look into it and give it a serious review.”
Residents should not be surprised when the city listens to them, he said, referring to recent renovations to Beaver Creek Park.
“That was a pleasant surprise, but I don’t want that to be a surprise,” he said.
He represents an important dimographic, he said. He is one of two members who has children passing through the Kenai schools.
“I think it’s important that when we have a diverse council that we have, we make sure we have people that are representing all the demographics that our city covers,” he said.
He also wants to make the government more accessible to the community. He said council has covered complicated issues and often he sees the public leaving confused.
“One of my goals over the next three years is to do some code clean up,” he said. “Clarify some things, take the ambiguity out of it so people know what to expect when their dealing with the city.”
Molloy, 59, has served seven years on council and he owns his own law practice.
In the past, Molloy was involved with an import and export business and a salmon sausage manufacturing business. He said his time owning his attorney business and working for private businesses has given him valuable experience for council.
“Certainly the attorney work helps to some extent, but I’ve also been running it as a business so I have handled issues with employ hiring and firing, how to make resources, pay the bills,” he said. “I deal with government regulation. Payroll tax is a big issue for us the past year.”
Molloy said the dipnet fishery’s waste management system needs to be resolved, but doing so will require city money.
The city is also involved in building two assisted living projects and a health and wellness center, he said, and those projects will also drain the city’s coffers.
“We have to figure out how to meet those additional needs,” he said, “but we have to do so with the resources that we have or are expecting to have and maintain our stability with our sales tax rate and our low property tax rate.”
Dan Schwartz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.