John Smallwood moved to Soldotna in 1982 with friends who offered him a job in a saw mill, but several setbacks, including a heart attack and the onset of diabetes, have left him on disability for years. Able to stand and walk only for short periods of time, Smallwood spends a lot of time in a wheelchair and a motorized cart.
He's volunteered with the Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator, working to help the handicapped.
"I worked with the city to provide handicap parking for their use," he said.
Since becoming disabled, Smallwood has had a few jobs.
"I worked for the city of Kenai for a while, painting all the fire hydrants and making all the dogs happy," he said. "Then I worked on the old Russian village trying to get rehabilitated, but it didn't work out and I've been retired ever since."
He said he lives in the city limits to take advantage of its proximity to the hospital and to be on the city water and sewer system, required by his home loan. "It's very convenient where we're at," he said.
Education: I finished high school in the U.S. Army under a GED.
Organizations and special interests:
Masonic Lodge, American Legion, Soldotna Elks, National Rifle Association. I like to hunt and fish, but being handicapped and someone disabled, the hunting and fishing is limited in a lot of ways. I like to use the computer for communication purposes and entertainment and enjoy watching my grandchildren fish and play in the campgrounds and parks.
Previously held elected office and experience: None
Expected cost of campaign: 0
What is the best way for voters to reach you? The best way to reach me is by telephone at my residence or cell phone. I can be reached just about any time of the day or night. If I should be elected to the office of mayor of Soldotna, I am easily reached at those numbers 24 by 7 at 262-1411 or 398-1014 on my cell phone.
He considers himself a hobbyist in the field of criminal and constitutional law.
"I'm not a lawyer, but I try to work with attorneys and legislators when I go on crusades, especially on civil rights," he said.
One of his crusades was helping to mold the state's concealed weapons law, he said, something he is still defending today against the city of Soldotna.
Last year City Manager Tom Boedeker put up signs at local parks banning firearms, something Smallwood says is illegal. That came about, Smallwood said, after he was charged with not notifying a Soldotna police officer that he had handguns on his person in one of the parks. His two pistols were subsequently confiscated and he is still being prosecuted on the charges.
"They were not concealed. You could plainly see them," he said.
He described his run-in with the officer as "a revenge deal" since he had filed a complaint against the officer for misconduct over an earlier incident.
Smallwood said Soldotna's economy relies heavily on fishing and tourism, and if that dries up, it would be detrimental to the city.
"I'd like to see some light industry," he said. "It would be nice if there was something to back up the economy."
He said his knowledge of civil rights is something everybody should be armed with, and would serve him well as mayor.
"I'm not a rich fella, I don't have any prestige, but I feel I have integrity, I don't lie and I get right to the point," he said. "If I'm ever proven wrong, I will take corrective action to fix it.
"If by some freak of nature I'm elected mayor, the city will be run for the benefit of the people," he added.
He said he thinks fellow candidate David Carey is "a pretty good guy."
"I joked with him that if I didn't have to vote for myself to make sure I got one vote, I'd vote for him."
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