It took 16 ballots for the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly to finally select a replacement for veteran Assemblymen Jack Brown. Brown has represented the Nikiski district in seat 3 for the last 14 years and resigned last month to take a position with the administration.
The opening drew five applicants for the seat that will expire in the October elections. Those seeking the appointment were Mark Powell, Joe Ross, Gary Superman, Ray Tauriainen, and Jim Wolverton. After each candidate gave a 3-minute overview of their qualifications and answered questions from the Assembly, the balloting began.
According to Borough code five votes were required for a candidate to win appointment, with Chris Moss absent and Jack Brown abstaining from the voting that left only 7 votes to be cast. The procedure was to eliminate the lowest vote getter until someone received 5 votes. After three ballots the Assembly deadlocked between Mark Powell and former Assemblymen Gary Superman with a 4-3 vote. The deadlock continued for 13 more ballots until Mark Powell finally gained the necessary 5 votes to prevail over Superman 5-2.
"It's an honor, but It's also a responsibility that I'm sure will be time consuming at the very least. Jack's shoes will be tough to fill he's done an fine job and has been an icon in Nikiski for 14 years, so I'll do the best I can," said Powell after taking the oath of office. Powell has been a resident of Nikiski since 1991 and is a commercial fisherman. Powell, classifying himself as a conservative, said that he would wait until deciding if he would seek election in October. Former Assemblymen Gary Superman told the Assembly that he had decided to run for the seat when he heard that Jack Brown was not going to seek re-election.
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