Former Soldotna Mayor Dave Carey will compete against former Soldotna City Council Member Nels Anderson for the mayoral seat left vacant by Peter Micciche after he was elected to the Alaska State Senate.
The winner will serve the remainder of Micciche’s term ending October 2014. The election will be April 2. Polls at Soldotna City Hall are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on election day. Absentee ballots will be available at city hall starting today.
There will be a mayoral debate hosted by the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce at noon on Tuesday at the Soldotna Sports Center.
The following are profiles of the two candidates.
Nels Anderson’s father was a professor of political science. The longtime Soldotna resident said his father’s experienced shaped how he sees the role of government.
“I grew up believing that public service was perhaps the highest form of service,” Anderson said.
Anderson has lived in Soldotna since 1983 and has had five children graduate from Soldotna High School. He has served 16 years on the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education and he said that time gives him experience necessary to serve as Soldotna’s next mayor.
In 14 of the 16 years on the board, Anderson said they had to make hard decisions on cutting the budget.
“I agonized many nights on how to do that with the least damage to the students,” he said. “I believe my years as a (Boy) Scout leader, a family physician, and at church help me in understanding and empathizing with and solving peoples problems.”
Anderson said he wants to continue economic development of the area if elected mayor.
He would like to encourage the development of projects that will increase off-season tourism use, he said. A couple ideas include hosting the state hockey tournament and developing the Davis Block area into a niche for tourism.
Anderson said the city should work on cooperating with other government agencies to develop projects that extend beyond the city limits, move forward on the trails system and a bridge to the community college.
Anderson wants to change the view that some of the public sees government as a bad thing. He said he believes the people are the government and wants to change the attitude of distrust for government.
“The purpose of government is to promote the needs and interests of the people to cooperatively enjoy better lives,” Anderson said.
Anderson said the city’s budget is efficiently managed, but there are decisions on infrastructure that will need to be addressed, such as a $6 million upgrade to the Soldotna Sports Center and a possible addition of a convention center.
Soldotna is a hub for many people in the area and Anderson said he would like to see projects where the community can come together as a whole.
“There are many good ideas in the 2030 plan. It is up to us to decide how and when to implement these ideas,” Anderson said.