On Tuesday, Kenai Peninsula Borough residents have the opportunity to select the person who will be responsible for charting the course of the borough over the next three years.
It's been an interesting campaign season, extended by the runoff election. First and foremost, we'd like to commend all seven candidates who threw their hat into the ring for the position of borough mayor. It takes courage and commitment to run for public office, and we applaud those who are willing to serve.
We also commend each candidate for the positive tenor of this campaign. The candidates each have taken the high road over the past few months, sticking to issues and philosophies, rather than mud slinging. Thank you; your actions have gone a long way toward restoring trust and respect for local government.
Just as each candidate has carefully weighed their decision to run for office, we'd ask that voters carefully consider each candidates' qualifications before making a final decision.
The two candidates in the runoff election, Mike Navarre and Fred Sturman, have brought very different styles to the campaign trail, and would certainly bring very different management styles to the mayor's office.
When it comes down to management style, Mike Navarre is our pick for borough mayor. And when we start to look at the substance behind each candidate's style, our choice is even more clear.
Fred Sturman is a likeable man. We appreciate his activism on behalf of borough residents. But he has indicated that he will not be a hands-on manager of the borough, delegating the day-to-day operations to a yet to be named staff while he would dedicate his time to "setting the tone."
Navarre, on the other hand, has indicated that he intends to be hands-on when it comes to managing the borough, perhaps even forgoing a chief of staff and instead designating assistants to stay on top of specific issues vital to the borough's interests, such as health care and oil and gas.
Our borough does not operate with a borough manager. We expect our mayor to serve as the borough's top executive and top administrative officer. We expect the mayor to be hands-on, to be immersed in the job of running the Kenai Peninsula Borough -- which is essentially a multi-million dollar corporation.
What's more, we believe Navarre has the skills and experience, in both the public and private sectors, to manage the borough from his first day on the job.
Our borough is in good shape, but we can see rough seas ahead. A number of complex issues that will affect the borough's future have yet to be resolved. Our next borough mayor needs to have a steady hand at the helm. Our mayor needs to be knowledgeable, experienced, responsive, and accountable. Mike Navarre has those qualities, and we believe he will do an excellent job as borough mayor.
Whether you agree with us or not, the results of Tuesday's election will impact borough government, and all that it entails, for the next three years. Please vote.