Second hat thrown in for Popp's seat

Posted: Tuesday, July 09, 2002

Longtime Kenai Peninsula resident Mary A. Jackson, currently chief of staff to Sen. John Torgerson, R-Kasilof, added her name Monday to a short list of candidates seeking appointment to the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly seat vacated by assembly member Bill Popp.

Jackson and former assembly member Betty Glick, who filed last week, were the only two to submit their names for consideration by the assembly, which must pick someone tonight to serve in Popp's place until the October election.

Popp's term as the assembly member from District 1, the Kenai South district, was to end in 2003, but redistricting altered the boundaries. The newly redrawn District 1 will be on the ballot in October as a one-year seat.

Popp officially resigns at 12:01 a.m. Thursday to assume his new borough job promoting a natural gas pipeline spur to the peninsula.

Jackson, who lives on Kalgin Drive off Kalifornsky Beach Road, has not served on the assembly before, but has a wealth of political experience.

She served two terms on the Homer City Council beginning in 1987. She worked for former Homer City Manager Larry Farnen in the early 1980s. She also served a couple of years as clerk-treasurer for the city of Kachemak City in the mid-1980s.

While still on the Homer council, Jackson worked for Sen. Paul Fischer. She also served on the borough's redistricting committee in 1990.

After marrying, she moved to the central peninsula. In 1994, she took a job on Torgerson's Senate campaign, and when he won, went to Juneau to serve as his chief of staff.

Jackson said there were no specific issues that drove her decision to file for the appointment.

"I just thought it was my turn to throw my hat into the ring for the community," she said.

Jackson has no particular beef with Glick, either. She submitted her name to the assembly believing the assembly should have a choice, she said.

"I talked to Betty two weeks ago," she added. "She's a great lady."

Jackson said she believes the assembly needs to appoint someone with experience, and she and Glick give them such a choice.

"I've spent almost 30 years on the Kenai Peninsula," she said.

Jackson said at this point, she has no intention of running for the one-year District 1 seat in the October election.

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