Current Soldotna City Council member David Carey was brought to Soldotna as an 8-year-old when his stepfather, Ed Onstott, was transferred here by Halliburton Energy Services in 1961. Son of a Navy pilot killed in Korea, Carey was born at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station near Oak Harbor, Wash.
He grew up in Soldotna, attending Soldotna Elementary School and then Kenai Central High School.
"This is absolutely where I think of as home," he said.
He said he lives inside the city limits because it is close to his mother, and he enjoys driving on paved roads to his job as a government teacher at Skyview High School, where he also coaches wrestling.
Carey served three terms on the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly in the 1980s representing Soldotna, Sterling, Kalifornsky Beach and Kasilof.
"I got on at a time where there was money for everything," he said. "We built Nikiski, Skyview, Homer, Hope and Tustumena (schools).
Occupation: Teacher, wrestling coach
Family: Mother, Norma Carey, widow; brother, Mike Carey, disabled vet; sister, Mrs. Vicki Leach, who has 9 children
Education: Soldotna Elementary, KCHS, Gonzaga University, Mt. Angel Seminary
Organizations and special interests: BPOE-Soldotna Lodge
Previously held elected office and experience: CES Service Area Board, Kenai Peninsula College Board, Soldotna Catholic Church Parish Council president, Soldotna Area Borough Assembly member, Homer Electric board president, Soldotna City Council
Expected cost of your campaign:
What is the best way for voters to reach you? Address: Box 718 Soldotna; phone, 262-4565; fax, 260-6413
"And I was on in '89 when the money was gone. That was my first experience in government."
Since 1988, Carey said his main public service activity has been serving on the Homer Electric Association board of directors.
"I learned the best way to get things done is by building partnerships. That's what we did with Unocal, Enstar and PTI," he said, referring to various projects HEA has undertaken with them. "When there are more people in the room, there are more ideas and more solutions."
Carey took a year off in 1990 and studied theology and philosophy at the Mount Angel Benedictine Monastery, with the intent of becoming a Catholic priest.
"I believed I was going to become a priest, but it turned out God just told me to get away for a while," he said. "I was unplugged for a year. I didn't even have a car.
"I think it was a very, very large plus. I think all politicians need time to get out and understand what it is to be a local citizen."
Carey said the most positive thing he's ever done is lead his church's parish council during the time it built a new million-dollar church in Soldotna.
He said he believes the job of Soldotna mayor is to be a front person for the city, someone who can talk to others about the benefits of the city and its economic aspects.
"I normally make a pretty good first impression with people, and I don't work summers, so I have 11 weeks free to be a public spokesperson, meet people and stand up for what Soldotna is all about," he said.
He said he believes the state and the peninsula is in store for a new spurt of growth, based on natural gas from the north slope and locally, and he wants to position Soldotna as the bedroom community in that event.
That includes continuing to build the city's reputation as a health-care center, protecting the Kenai River and enhancing economic development.
"But I'm not running against anyone. I want to make that clear," he said.
"I think I can be the best mayor possible, but I have nothing against any of them, and would be willing to serve with any of them."
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