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Four file for seats: Just one of three assembly races to be contested

Posted: Friday, August 20, 2010

One-third of the current Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly's members will be replaced on Oct. 5.

And only four people are vying for the three seats.

Assembly President Pete Sprague's Soldotna seat is the sole contested position.

Linda Murphy, who served as the borough clerk for eight years, and J.R. Myers, an emergency mental health clinician, are competing for the spot. They are not competing for the presidency, just the Soldotna seat. The assembly will elect a new president after it welcomes its new members.

Brent Johnson is running unopposed for the Central Peninsula seat, currently held by Paul Fischer, and Raymond Tauriainen is running unopposed for the Nikiski seat, currently held by Gary Superman.

All candidates expressed their desire to serve the community and to listen to constituents.

Tauriainen is a retired Phillips Petroleum electrician living in Nikiski. He's lived in Alaska for 33 years and served on the Kenai Peninsula Borough Planning Commission between 2003 and 2008.

Tauriainen says his levelheaded decision-making abilities and accounting skills will serve him well on the assembly.

"I see our borough has got a mandate for providing certain services," Tauriainen said, pointing to education, road maintenance and emergency services, among others. "Those kinds of things should remain strong, and where government is overstepping bounds it needs to take a step back."

Johnson is a commercial fisherman living in Clam Gulch. He's lived in Alaska his entire life and has served as the borough planning commissioner since 1996.

Johnson says it's his "responsibility" to run for office.

"We need to function together. You've got two choices: chaos and government," Johnson said. " A good government is one that is working to meet the needs of society as best it can."

Myers resides in Soldotna and has been in Alaska for seven years. He is a vice chairman of the Alaska Independence Party and was a nominee for Montana's State Reform Party secretary in 2000.

Myers sees his bid for the assembly seat as his opportunity to make a difference.

"It's important for people to get involved in their communities whether it is through volunteerism or through candidacy," Myers said. "A lot of people complain. Instead of complaining, I would encourage people to get involved and see how government really works."

Murphy resides in Soldotna and has been in Alaska for 38 years. She serves on the planning commission, worked on the lieutenant governor's election transition team in 1993 and worked on the Department of Defense elections task force in 1997 and 1998.

Murphy said she wants to be a voice of the people.

"I know the issues and the process. I'm approachable, and I'm not doing this for any ego trip," Murphy said. "I'm doing it because I see an opportunity to represent the people in this area. I'm willing to listen to people and I'm not going to go in with my own agenda because I have none."

In the school board election, Lorraine Crawford is running for the Kalifornsky seat, Lynn Hohl is running for the East Peninsula seat and Edith-Helen Hilts is running for the South Peninsula seat.

Andrew Waite can be reached at andrew.waite@peninsulaclarion.com.



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