Anchorage Democrat quits House

Posted: Friday, June 02, 2000

JUNEAU (AP) -- Anchorage Democrat Alan Kemplen announced Thursday that he would not seek another term in the House.

Kemplen said he wanted to spend more time with his wife and school-age children.

''The primary reason is it's been very difficult for the family while I'm down there in Juneau,'' said Kemplen, who served two terms in the House as part of the Democratic minority.

Kemplen also said he was dissatisfied with the Legislative process, which he described as dishonest.

''I'm just a little saddened by the system,'' Kemplen said. ''I just don't think that its worth the cost, the cost to my family.''

Kemplen broke with the minority's leaders on some key issues, including last year's plan to balance the budget with earnings from the Alaska Permanent Fund. Kemplen opposed the plan, which would have decreased the fund's annual dividend, as a regressive tax on the poor.

''I'd really have to question the honesty of how we as legislators present public policy issues to the citizens for their approval,'' Kemplen said.

Kemplen served on the Transportation Committee, the Health, Education and Social Services Committee, and the Special Committee on Oil and Gas.

Two Democrats and two Republicans will compete for Kemplen's seat, which represents the Fairview, Mountain View and Russian Jack neighborhoods of Anchorage.

Kemplen endorsed Democrat Gretchen Guess, a business analyst for Alaska Communications Systems. Guess, who has worked as an aide to former Commissioner of Education Shirley Holloway and Gov. Tony Knowles, is the daughter of the late Rep. Gene Guess, a Democrat who was Speaker of the House in the early 1970s.

''The campaign's really going to be run focusing on jobs and education,'' said Guess, 30. ''It's going to be run on diversifying our economy so we can have livable wages.''

Guess will face Regina Manteufel in the Democratic primary, while Republicans Randy Smith and Clint Johnson compete for the GOP nomination.

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