Former Soldotna mayor finding challenges in senate, but remembers roots

Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, is home sick.

“Juneau’s far away,” he said.

But after nine weeks in the Legislature and working about 100 hours a week, the former Soldotna mayor returned Saturday to a Kenai Peninsula Borough assembly chamber room of about 40 area residents to visit friends, familiar politics and his home.

“Just waking up this morning and hanging the bird feeder, my bird feeder, and eating breakfast in my home,” was a joy, he said.

He said returning home gave him a chance to touch base with his “immediate supervisors” — District O residents.

“It gives me the opportunity to explain why I’m voting the way I am,” he said.

The transition from mayor to senator has been jarring, he said.

When he was mayor the facts were straight and the direction was clear, he said. At city council meetings he enjoyed seeing two opposing sides to an issue mesh.

“I really miss that part of it because that was one thing I prided myself in, being the middle guy,” he said.

But now, he said his constituents represent such an array of interests that rarely are there ever just two sides to an issue. He said he still tries to bridge the middle ground, but there are many more angles.

He said it is painful watching politics kill good legislation. City council was more intimate with fewer people making the decisions, he said.

“You’re a much smaller cog,” he said.

He said he has a lot to learn still, but there are a lot of mentors who are receptive.

“I’m the kind of person that values experience when it’s positive experience,” he said.

Micciche said he is still a representative of Soldotna, just on a larger level now.

At Saturday’s meeting he asked area residents to email him if they disapprove of how he is voting or have questions. Emails often change his mind, he said.

“I’ll be thinking a certain way on a bill then an email will come in and I’ll think, ‘Oh, well maybe I better think this way about it,’” he said.

The more emails he receives, he said, the more likely he is to sway to one side or another.

“Stay in contact and let me know how you feel about things,” he said.

Micciche can be reached by email at senator.peter.micciche@akleg.gov.

Dan Schwartz can be reached at daniel.schwartz@peninsulaclarion.com.

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