The Kenai Peninsula is the place to be for some of the state's biggest political names this weekend.
Gov. Tony Knowles is in Kenai today for a noon address at the American Legion. He will be followed Saturday by the two leading candidates for his job -- Lt. Gov. Fran Ulmer and U.S. Sen. Frank Murkowski.
Murkowski and Ulmer will be attending numerous events on the peninsula Saturday, as both step up their campaigns to become Alaska's next governor.
Murkowski will be traveling with a special guest, U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony Principi, when he arrives in Kenai at 5:30 p.m. to tour the new Veterans Administration Health Clinic in Kenai.
The two will then head to the Kenai American Legion Hall, where Principi will be the keynote speaker at the Commander's and President's Banquet of the American Legion Convention at 7:30 p.m.
Ulmer's visit will be a bit more lengthy, as she has plans to spend much of the weekend visiting various sites around the peninsula. She'll be visiting Homer today, before traveling north to the central peninsula on Saturday.
Her first stop during a hectic Saturday will be in Soldotna, where she will meet with area teachers from 9:30 until 10 a.m. at the Aspen Hotel. Following the teacher's meeting, Ulmer will be available for a "meet and greet" session with the public from 10 until 11:30 a.m. From there, Ulmer will travel to the Riverside House in Soldotna to attend the Kenai Peninsula Women's Political Caucus lunch.
After lunch, Ulmer will head to Kenai, where she will stop by the Kenai Fire Station. After visiting with Kenai firefighters, Ulmer will appear at the American Legion Convention in Kenai at 1:45 p.m. Following the Legion event, Ulmer will swing back to the south for an hour-long fisher's meeting at the Peninsula Steak House in Soldotna, beginning at 2:30 p.m.
Soldotna's Jim Fisher has been working closely with the UImer campaign. He says Ulmer's visit presents peninsula residents with a unique opportunity to meet the candidate.
"The idea is for people who haven't been in contact with Fran to see her, meet her and talk with her," Fisher said Thursday. "And it gives those of us who have been working with her a chance to pat her on the back and say, 'go Fran, go,'" Fisher said.
Following the Soldotna meeting, Ulmer will leave the central peninsula and head to Cooper Landing for a 5 p.m. "meet and greet." She will cap off her whirlwind tour of the peninsula by driving to Seward, where she plans on holding another "meet and greet" session Sunday morning at the Resurrect Art Coffee House Gallery.
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