Former Soldotna mayor runs for Lt. gov.

Nikiski’s Ward also throws hat in ring

Posted: Friday, June 02, 2006

Ken Lancaster, a former Republican member of the Alaska House and former mayor of Soldotna, has filed to run as an independent for lieutenant governor.

He was named this week as the running mate of former state House member and independent gubernatorial hopeful Andrew Halcro, of Anchorage.

Also filing for lieutenant governor from the Kenai Peninsula is former Alaska Senate member Jerry Ward, of Nikiski, who will run as a Republican.

Lancaster, 63, owns and manages a real estate company developing residential and commercial property on the Kenai Peninsula. He was elected mayor of Soldotna in 1993 and served in that office until elected to the Alaska House in 2000. He served one term in the House, declining to run again, citing the Legislature’s harshly partisan climate.

He was president of the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce, a member of the board of Homer Electric Association and was on the board of the Alaska Rural Electric Cooperative for 20 years.

Lancaster said he was glad to be named Halcro’s running mate.

“I know Andrew’s values and his persistence in getting things done right,” he said. “He is the right leader for Alaska today.”

Halcro said he and Lancaster share a common vision that Alaskans deserve honest, straightforward political leadership.

“Ken has the balance, the maturity and the perspective to serve Alaska well,” Halcro said.

Lancaster was born in Anchorage and moved to Cooper Landing in 1949. He and his wife, Mavis, make their home in Soldotna.

Thursday, Lancaster said being lieutenant governor would keep him out of much of the partisan bickering going on in the Legislature and give him a new platform.

“We need some honest dialogue about where to go and a road map to get there,” he said. “There is a whole lot of contention now and not much product.”

He and Halcro, he said, would have “plenty of heavy lifting to do,” but would maintain an open dialogue and share ideas, and would seek the opinions of Alaska residents and the business community.

Ward served in the Alaska House from 1982 to 1984. After a long hiatus from public office, he was elected to the Senate in 1996, serving until 2000.

He said Thursday that he believed Alaska was at a crossroad.

“Alaska needs to have a government that will actually do the will of the people without breaking them in their pocket books,” he said. “Government is spending too much money on peoples’ wants and desires. We need a smaller and smarter government. I plan on striving toward that.”

As lieutenant governor, Ward would oversee the Alaska Division of Elections. He noted that some Alaska citizens, primarily Democrats, have sued to acquire certain election records from the 2004 general election, an election largely conducted on electronic machines. So far, they have not acquired those records.

“I have every intention of fixing that,” Ward said. “We will not have elections by computer that cannot be verified. Voting is too precious a right.”

Lancaster, too, expressed concern over election procedures, but said the state needed to recognize technological advances and the advantages they offer in cutting costs and producing quicker outcomes.

He did say elections should have a paper trail, but then said that could be something generated by a computer hard drive after the election.

“I like the piece of paper, but we can’t ignore the 21st century,” he said.

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