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Saturday deadline for filing for office

Mix of new faces, political veterans seeking to serve

Posted: Friday, May 31, 2002

The Nov. 5 general election isn't for another five months, but incumbent state lawmakers and those that would challenge them have only until 5 p.m. Saturday to file to run for office.

Those seeking the same office under one party banner will face off in Alaska's primary election Aug. 27. The last day to withdraw from a race is July 10 at 5 p.m.

In November, voters will choose not only state legislators, but also their governor and lieutenant governor, as well as a U.S. senator and congressman.

The legislative have-beens and wannabes will compete in new districts whose boundaries were drawn recently by the Alaska Redistricting Board -- with a bit of pressure from the Alaska Supreme Court -- to account for population changes noted in the 2000 national census.

Representing the Kenai Peninsula Borough are the new House Districts 33, 34 and 35.

District 33 includes Kenai, Soldotna and Kalifornsky, while 34 covers a vast area of the central and northern peninsula from the north side of the North Fork of the Anchor River to Turnagain Arm and from Nikiski east to the edge of House District 35 at about the Russian River.

Districts 33 and 34 are joined to create Senate District Q. Because of redistricting, District Q will be a two-year seat instead of the normal 4-year term, to provide for a rotation of seats in future elections.

House District 35 also covers an expansive region wrapping around House District 34 from north of Cooper Landing and Moose Pass south to include Seward, around the southern end of the Kenai Penin-sula to take in all of Kachemak Bay, including Nanwalek, Seldovia, Homer and Anchor Point, and then

across Cook Inlet to include the borough's western territory from Katmai National Park to Drift River.

House District 35 together with House District 36, which includes Kodiak and the Lake and Peninsula Borough, make up the new Senate District R. District R will be a 4-year seat.

As of Thursday afternoon, the list of candidates so far certified by the Alaska Division of Elections as eligible to run for House Districts 33, 34, 35 and 36 and Senate District's Q and R included the following:

Senate District Q

Joe Arness, a resident of Kenai, has filed as a Republican. Arness' political career includes a three-year term on the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly from 1981-1984. He ran for the Kenai Peninsula Board of Education and was elected in 1990 where he remained until 1999 when he left to run for the borough mayor's job. He was unsuccessful. Arness ran for and was elected again to the school board in 2001. He is the owner of the Kenai Merit Inn.

Raymond P. VinZant Sr., of Soldotna, also has filed as a Republican.

He and his family moved to Soldotna in1981. He retired from a career as a machinist in 1991, though he still works part-time for "The Fishing Hole" tackle shop in Soldotna. He has never held public office. He attended Kenai Peninsula College where he took a variety of courses including computers, photography, management, accounting, welding, government, history, political science and art. He served in the U.S. Navy in the early 1950s.

Sen. Jerry Ward is the Republican incumbent.

He has been a member of the Alaska Senate since 1996. He served in the Alaska House from 1982 to 1984. Ward is a lifelong resident of Alaska. He and his wife own Jerry & Margaret Ward Realty, based in Anchorage. He is a member of the Kenai Chamber of Commerce and of the North Peninsula Chamber of Commerce. His service organization memberships include Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10252 and American Legion Post 28. Ward attended West High School in Anchorage and later acquired a GED. He served in the U.S. Navy.

Also listed as yet-to-be certified candidates for the seat from Senate District Q were Thomas H. Wagoner, a Republican Moderate, and Patrick Hawkins, a Democrat.

Senate District R

Sen. Alan Austerman, of Kodiak, is the Republican incumbent.

A lifelong resident of Kodiak, he works for Island Air Services. He has been a business owner, a commercial fisher and a Kodiak city police officer, among other jobs. He was owner of the Kodiak Times newspaper from 1976-1983. He was elected to the Alaska Senate in 2000. In his political career, Austerman served on the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly from 1985-1990 and again from 1992-1994. He has served on the Kodiak Island Borough Parks and Recreation Commission, the personnel board for the city of Kodiak, and other civic posts. He was chair of the Pacific Fisheries Legislative Task Force. He also has been a member of variety of civic organizations. He graduated from Kodiak High School in 1961.

House District 33

David L. Richards, of Soldotna, has filed as a Republican. He has lived in Soldotna since 1981. He has never held public office. He has been a sports fishing guide since 1981 and is a member of the Kenai River Professional Guide Association. He also has served on the board of directors of the Alaska Council of Trout Unlimited, a national conservation group. He is a member of several civic organizations, including the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce. He is on the board of directors of the Child Evangelism Fellowship, a Christian children's ministry. He graduated from high school in Muskegon, Mich., and attended Grand Rapids Baptist College, now Cornerstone University.

Harold "Hal" Smalley, of Kenai, has filed as a Democrat.

Smalley, a retired teacher, held the House District 9 (Nikiski and Kenai) seat for one term from 1998 to 2000 before losing to Mike Chenault. He served about 10 years on the Kenai City Council and served on the Kenai City Planning and Zoning Commission for 11 years prior to that. He has been a member of several civic organizations, including the Kenai Peninsula Fishermen's Associ-ation, the United Cook Inlet Drift Association and Kenai River Sportfishing Association. He earned a master's degree in education from Century University in Albuquerque, N.M.

House District 34

Rep. Charles M. "Mike" Chenault is the Republican incumbent.

A resident of Nikiski, Chenault has lived in Alaska for 33 years. He was elected to the Alaska House in 2000. He was elected to the Kenai Peninsula Board of Education in 1999 and the Nikiski Fire Service Board that same year. He is vice president of Qwick Construction Co. Inc.

He is a member of several civic organizations and has served on the board and been president of the North Peninsula Chamber of Commerce. Chenault graduated from Kenai Central High School in 1975.

House District 35

Rep. Drew Scalzi is the Republican incumbent.

The Homer-area resident and commercial fisher has lived on Diamond Ridge since May 1978. Before that he lived in Fairbanks for three years. Scalzi has served on the Kenai Peninsula Borough Road Service Area Board, served on the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assem-bly from 1992 to 2000 when he was elected to the Alaska House of Representatives. He holds a seat on the International Pacific Halibut Commission and is a member of the IFQ Implementation Team to the North Pacific Fisheries Manage-ment Council. He served on the Alaska Coastal Policy Council from 1993-1996. He also has served or continues to serve on a variety of service organizations. He attended the University of Rhode Island.

House District 36

Rep. Gary L. Stevens is the Republican incumbent.

Stevens has lived in Alaska for more than 30 years. He is a former University of Alaska professor of history, speech and theater. He has served as mayor of Kodiak Island Borough, mayor of the city of Kodiak, president of the Kodiak Island Borough Board of Education, president of the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly. He has been a member of the board of the Alaska Municipal League. Among other posts, he served on the board of directors of the Alaska Humanities Forum and was director of the Kodiak Oral History Project. He earned a doctorate degree from the University of Oregon.



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