Whitney: Community effort needed to meet challenges

I would like to take this opportunity to tell you a little about myself, my family and why I am running for City Council. I was born and raised in Grand Rapids, MI a good number of years ago. After graduating from High School I migrated to the San Francisco Bay area and eventually entered the United States Marine Corps Reserve serving for eight years and being discharged as a Staff Sergeant. I was fortunate to meet my best friend and eventually marry Jeanne in 1970 and she is still putting up with me. I worked as a Police Officer for five years in California and one night in 1975 came home and said let’s move to Alaska.

Since moving to Alaska we have lived a year in Anchorage, 12 years in Fairbanks and 25 years in Soldotna. Our son Eric was born in 1975 in Anchorage and our daughter Kimberly in Fairbanks in 1977. Since being in Alaska I have mostly been employed within the criminal justice system either in law enforcement or criminal defense. I have also been a private investigator, security officer, insurance adjuster and property appraiser. I retired in 1999 from the State of Alaska Public Defender Agency where Jeanne also retired from a couple of years ago. Eric and Kimberly both graduated from Soldotna High and between them have blessed us with six grandchildren, Heath and Myah (1), Nathan (3), Avery (5), Kennedy (6) and the “big guy” Liam (10). Jeanne’s mother lives in Kenai and her sister Pam and husband Steve live in the Denise Lake area.

I served on the Fairbanks City Council and the Fairbanks Municipal Utility Board for 4 years, the City of Soldotna Planning and Zoning Commission for 2 years and the Kenai Peninsula Borough Planning Commission for 1 year. I am actively involved in the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, a member of the Marine Corps League and the AMVETs.

Now why am I here today seeking to become a member of the Soldotna City Council? Because I have the devotion, time and desire to contribute in making our City an even better place to live. It is a great place to live, raise children and grandchildren along with enjoying the beauty of Alaska. The challenge is to broaden our economic base by attracting new businesses, residents and providing year round activities for not only our residents, but the many visitors who come here.

Fishing the Kenai River is a huge attraction, but as we have seen the past couple of years, it is struggling. There are many other attractions in the area and we should be looking at, considering and developing outdoor activities that will attract visitors year round.

Do I have the answer to these challenges? No, it will take a concerted effort by our entire community, residents, businesses and City to meet the challenges for the future. I would like to be a part of the process and would appreciate your vote on October 1.

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