The race for Kenai Peninsula Borough mayor is on, with a second candidate announcing his intent to run.
Former borough assembly president and Seward resident Ron Long said he would be running for the seat, which is currently held by Dave Carey, and up for election this October.
"I want to get the word out early," said Long. "I know it's going to be an uphill struggle for someone not living on the Central Peninsula."
He said he plans to officially announce his candidacy at the joint-Kenai and Soldotna Chamber of Commerce meeting on Wednesday.
Long, who has lived in Seward for 22 years, is currently the operations manager for the Major Marine Tours fleet of boats.
No stranger to politics, he served on the borough assembly as the East Peninsula representative from 2000 to 2009. From 2006 to 2007, Long was the assembly president.
He said his experience on the assembly gave him a new perspective of the area.
"It opened my eyes to just how big and diverse our borough is," Long said. "You'd never mistake Homer for Seward, Nikiski for Ninilchik, or Seward for Kenai."
"I've been getting encouragement from some pretty diverse people, across the political spectrum and across the geographic spectrum," he said.
The economy, especially reinvigorating it, is at the top of Long's list of things he would focus on if elected to office.
"First, try to re-energize some areas of my economy that have lacked a little bit," he said.
He said there's an opportunity to engage in some local economic sectors like oil and gas, commercial and sport fishing and tourism.
There's also finding and keeping the right balance between taxes and services, he said.
"We can't afford everything we all like," Long said.
Throughout his campaign, he said he plans to visit with residents far and wide.
"I look forward to getting around all the areas of the borough," Long said.
Long's intent to run for borough mayor comes on the heels of Dale Bagley's announcement. Bagley, a current Soldotna City Council member and former borough mayor, threw his hat in the ring earlier this month.
Brielle Schaeffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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