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Two Republican candidates file for Smalley's seat

Posted: Sunday, April 16, 2000

An incumbent running for re-election now has a couple of hurdles to jump.

Two Republican candidates have thrown their hats in the District 9 ring to challenge Hal Smalley, D-Kenai, in his effort to return to the Legislature for a second term. Mike Chenault and Linda Reynolds both have filed to run for the seat, which represents Kenai, Nikiski and part of the Kalifornsky Beach area.

"I find either opponent worthy, and I look forward to campaigning when I come home (from Juneau)," Smalley said.

Chenault, a first-year school board member, has known Smalley for years and said he, too, looks forward to campaigning.

"I like Hal. ... I don't hold any grudges against Hal," the 43-year-old Nikiski resident said. "I want to run a positive campaign. I look for it to be a good clean race, and hopefully when it's done we can all still shake hands and be friends (knowing that) the people have spoken and the best person has won."

A political novice, Chenault said his experience on the school board has opened his eyes to the intricacies of the political process. He also said he has been encouraged to run by people who are "looking for someone who thinks more like they do."

"I feel that the population is looking more for the normal-type working guy rather than the career politician -- and I don't call Hal the career type," said Chenault, who manages Qwick Construction, his family business.

Chenault cited the public distrust of the current Legislature over the issue of tapping the Alaska Permanent Fund as one of the major issues facing the state.

"I know the people of the state of Alaska don't want (the Legislature) to touch the permanent fund," he said. "That's some of the reason people are wanting to change legislators. As long as the fund is threatened, they're not happy."

Chenault said lawmakers should find other ways to balance the budget.

"We can't continue to spend the way we are," he said. "There's got to be some money somewhere that can still be cut."

Reynolds also is a political newcomer. The K-Beach resident, a 43-year-old mother of two teens, called herself a "conservative with compassion" who will listen to the people who elect her.

"The people are not being heard," she said. "Our representatives don't seem to be listening, and that's a criteria for holding office -- you've got to listen to the people who put you in office."

Reynolds said not listening to voters has been the biggest failure of the current Legislature, and she identified lawmakers' continued efforts to "raid the permanent fund" as an example.

"The permanent fund should be protected for future generations of people of the state of Alaska, not for government," she said. "The people asked for reduced government. ... We have enough tax revenue already. How much government do you need for 600,000 people?"

Pinpointing a need for greater fiscal restraint on the state level, Reynolds said only essential services, such as roads and schools, should be funded.

"What we need is efficiency. This is not a huge state," she said. "This should not be so complicated. It can be run efficiently -- and people will love an efficient state."

The candidates will square off in an August primary to set the ballot for the general election in November.

BYLINE1:By MARK KELSEY

BYLINE2:Peninsula Clarion

An incumbent running for re-election now has a couple of hurdles to jump.

Two Republican candidates have thrown their hats in the District 9 ring to challenge Hal Smalley, D-Kenai, in his effort to return to the Legislature for a second term. Mike Chenault and Linda Reynolds both have filed to run for the seat, which represents Kenai, Nikiski and part of the Kalifornsky Beach area.

"I find either opponent worthy, and I look forward to campaigning when I come home (from Juneau)," Smalley said.

Chenault, a first-year school board member, has known Smalley for years and said he, too, looks forward to campaigning.

"I like Hal. ... I don't hold any grudges against Hal," the 43-year-old Nikiski resident said. "I want to run a positive campaign. I look for it to be a good clean race, and hopefully when it's done we can all still shake hands and be friends (knowing that) the people have spoken and the best person has won."

A political novice, Chenault said his experience on the school board has opened his eyes to the intricacies of the political process. He also said he has been encouraged to run by people who are "looking for someone who thinks more like they do."

"I feel that the population is looking more for the normal-type working guy rather than the career politician -- and I don't call Hal the career type," said Chenault, who manages Qwick Construction, his family business.

Chenault cited the public distrust of the current Legislature over the issue of tapping the Alaska Permanent Fund as one of the major issues facing the state.

"I know the people of the state of Alaska don't want (the Legislature) to touch the permanent fund," he said. "That's some of the reason people are wanting to change legislators. As long as the fund is threatened, they're not happy."

Chenault said lawmakers should find other ways to balance the budget.

"We can't continue to spend the way we are," he said. "There's got to be some money somewhere that can still be cut."

Reynolds also is a political newcomer. The K-Beach resident, a 43-year-old mother of two teens, called herself a "conservative with compassion" who will listen to the people who elect her.

"The people are not being heard," she said. "Our representatives don't seem to be listening, and that's a criteria for holding office -- you've got to listen to the people who put you in office."

Reynolds said not listening to voters has been the biggest failure of the current Legislature, and she identified lawmakers' continued efforts to "raid the permanent fund" as an example.

"The permanent fund should be protected for future generations of people of the state of Alaska, not for government," she said. "The people asked for reduced government. ... We have enough tax revenue already. How much government do you need for 600,000 people?"

Pinpointing a need for greater fiscal restraint on the state level, Reynolds said only essential services, such as roads and schools, should be funded.

"What we need is efficiency. This is not a huge state," she said. "This should not be so complicated. It can be run efficiently -- and people will love an efficient state."

The candidates will square off in an August primary to set the ballot for the general election in November.



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