Parnell, staff visit: Residents pleased with attention from governor

Posted: Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Gov. Sean Parnell brought nearly everyone from his staff to Kenai, and most members of the public who came to the reception at the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center on Monday night were pleased with attention the governor gave the area during his one-day tour.

Photo By Will Morrow
Photo By Will Morrow
Jim Holt, Alaska project manager for Survival Systems USA, demonstrates the helicopter underwater egress trainer at the Kenai Central High School pool for Gov. Sean Parnell on Monday afternoon.

"It's wonderful that the governor would come," Barbara Ruckman said. "I'm impressed to see he brought all of his commissioners. The Republican Party felt a lack of visibility under the former governor."

Jacquie Steckel, of Kenai, was also impressed.

"What a gift it is to drive six miles and meet the governor," Steckel said.

"We've seen his whole cabinet now," Steckel's husband, John, added.

Parnell and his staff spent the day touring the area. That attention to the area appealed to Steckel.

"I'm impressed that he went to OCS (Office of Children's Services). As a retired educator, I know how important that is to struggling families," Steckel said.

Alaska Attorney General Daniel Sullivan said he spent the day with the local police chiefs as well as with the district attorney. He said he was impressed by the close relationship between the law enforcement units and the criminal justice officials.

"We just wanted to check the pulse with them," Sullivan said. "It's good to see they work so closely with each other."

Not everyone was impressed with Parnell and his entourage. Bill Warren, of Nikiski, said he wanted to hear the governor take a stronger stance on revitalizing the area's industries.

"I'm a 55-year resident and I worked in the oil and gas industry for 50 years," Warren said. Warren said he wanted to hear Parnell promise to bring a natural gas supply to Southcentral immediately.

"No more task forces. We need action," Warren said. "We need reassurance."

Ruckman said she thinks infrastructure ranks among Alaska's highest needs.

"Alaska could use all the roads that we can get," she said. "The lower states have had roads for 200 years. We have two roads, basically."

Ruckman said she believes Alaska's continued growth and development depends on adequate access.

Andrew Waite can be reached at

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