With little more than two months before the municipal elections, the Kenai City Council ballot is filling up.
Four seats are up for grabs this year: the position of mayor, two council seats belonging to incumbents Jim Bookey and Joe Moore and the seat vacated by Bill Frazer, who has moved to Arizona.
Council member Duane Bannock has announced an attempt to unseat 15-year incumbent Mayor John Williams, who has not committed to seeking re-election, despite saying he will not just hand the position to a challenger.
Council member Linda Swarner has said she is considering a run for mayor, but also has not committed.
Bookey has said his running for mayor was "the $64,000 question." He was unavailable for comment as to his plans for re-election to the council.
Moore has confirmed his intentions to seek election to a third term on the council.
The way the election is run, those seeking a three-year council seat will run for the two available -- Moore and Bookey's -- with the top two vote-getters being seated. Those seeking a two-year seat will run against each other for the one seat available -- Frazer's. Since Frazer resigned in the first year of his new term, the person elected will fill out the last two years of the term.
Seeking election to the council for the first time are Amy Jackman and Randy Daly.
n Amy Jackman
Jackman, soon to be 30, said she is seeking the office because of her interest in serving the community. She said she is leaning toward running for the two-year seat, but she hasn't made a decision yet.
Jackman's husband is Bruce; they have two children, daughter, Jordan, 6, and son, Joshua, 3. She has lived in Kenai off and on since the mid-1980s, and permanently since 1993.
Jackman works as a marketing consultant for KSRM radio and she and her husband own rental property in the city. She is a current member of the Kenai Planning and Zoning Commission.
"I wanted to get on Planning and Zoning to get a feel for how the system works. It was kind of a stepping stone to the city council," she said. "I didn't want to go in (to the council) and not know how anything works."
She said her interest in running stems from the increased role people her age are taking as parents, in business and society.
"A lot of things are changing and it's a good opportunity for some new blood," she said. "I think I'd be very representative of a huge portion of our community."
She was quick to add that she is not dissatisfied with the job the current council is doing.
"They genuinely care about the community," she said. "My thinking is if I go in now, I'll have the opportunity to sit with and learn from the council members that have been there."
She said that while economic development is good, it can't happen if the city is not attractive enough to draw new homes, businesses and people to it.
"We can't just say 'let's have new businesses' and have people come. We need to pave more roads, have more streetlights, homes and neighborhoods," she said.
She supports expanding the Kenai ice rink into an enclosed year-round multipurpose facility, and construction of a sea wall and coastal trail.
"The retaining wall is something we have to have for tourism and the citizens of our community," she said. "You have to spend money to make money."
On the topic of a convention center and hotel atop the bluff in downtown, Jackman said she would like to see one if private enterprise was interested in building it.
"There are so many things we can do to market the city," she said. "I want the opportunity to do this. What a privilege it will be if the day comes that I'm elected."
n Randy Daly
Randy Daly, 36, is the owner of HiSpeed Gear, a computer and office equipment dealer in Kenai. He is the president of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Economic Development District board of directors and is the president-elect of the Kenai Rotary and chair of Junior Achievement. He also serves on the state Chamber of Commerce board. He plans on running for the vacant two-year seat.
He has lived in Kenai for 3 1/2 years, moving here from Anchorage, where he was raised. His wife is Mary, and they have two daughters, Shelby, 9, and Austin, 6.
"I'm running mostly in an attempt to be of more service to the city and help the community move in the right direction, to have a livable 12-month economy and to improve the quality of life," he said.
He said he feels the current council is doing "a pretty darn good job overall."
"I work with Mr. Bannock on a number of things and sit on committees with Mayor Williams, and I look forward to working with the people in the city who have much more history in Kenai," he said.
Regarding a hotel and convention center on the bluff, Daly said he has shown the property to many people, including Dennis Brandon in Cook Inlet Region Inc.'s development office.
"If the numbers work, then I'm for it, but I have not seen any numbers or a business plan," he said. "If it's done, it's got to be viable."
To make it viable, of course, the bluff must be shored up with a sea wall.
"That's one thing I pitched CIRI on, that we are actively going after fixing that bluff," he said. "The sea wall will do a couple things for the city. One, it will reassure people who live and hold property on the bluff that they'll have property in 10 years, and two, it will increase Kenai's viability as a tourist center and increase the quality of life for residents."
He said he witnessed firsthand how the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail in Anchorage became an informal hub for the community after it was built.
Expanding the multipurpose facility will come down to dollars and cents, Daly said. He said something needs to be done, but he's pretty tight with the purse strings.
While these people have announced their intentions to run, the official filing period won't open until Aug. 1. Candidates will need to submit a petition with the signatures of 20 registered voters who reside inside the city limits to be put on the ballot. The filing period closes Aug. 15, and the municipal election is Oct. 2.
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