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Peninsula voters voice concerns on issues

Posted: Sunday, August 25, 2002

Changes to this year's primary election have left some voters angry, some confused and others ambivalent.

This is the first primary election in which Alaskans will not be able to vote across party lines. It also is the first since the recent redistricting.

Central Kenai Peninsula residents shared their thoughts about the changes to the primary, any issues of particular concern to them in this election and whether they plan to vote Tuesday.

B.H. Jensen of Sterling, a construction worker, said he would probably vote absentee: "The changes (to the primary) don't really concern me. ... The most important (election) issue facing the state is the secrecy going on as to who Frank Murkowski is going to appoint as his successor. I don't think anybody in their right mind will vote for someone withholding that kind of information from voters."

Dave Schneider of Soldotna, retired, a central peninsula resident of 37 years, said he would vote: "I haven't decided yet whether I'm against (the changes to the primary) or for it. Next year I might have an absolute opinion."

The election issue of greatest concern to him was "getting the people I want in office and keeping the people I want in office. After that, there just hasn't been anything too big this year."

A.C. Dabney of Soldotna, retired, central peninsula resident for 15 years, said he would vote: "I'm indifferent (about the changes to the primary). It doesn't make a whole lot of difference to me. ... I'm for Frank Murkowski and his counterpart. I'm for people who are for Alaska, not someone new coming from the Lower 48. I'm for protecting the permanent fund, the oil pipeline and anything that's good for the state. ... I'm interested in veteran's affairs. I think everybody should be treated equally."

Paul Whitney of Soldotna, retired, central peninsula resident for 15 years, said he would vote: "I think it stinks (referring to the changes in the primary). We should be able to vote for anybody. ... There's nothing drastic this year (referring to issues in this election). There's nothing more than normal."

Gail McWethy of Sterling, retired, central peninsula resident for 28 years, said she would vote: "I don't like (the changes to the primary). They're confusing. Everybody has to do their homework to know what they're doing."

She had no election issues of major concern yet, she said.

Paul Signorino of Soldotna, self-employed, central peninsula resident for 18 years, said he would vote: "I'm not sure which way to go (about the changes to the primary). I think people are going to speak their mind. I think we just have to follow what we're given. The main emphasis would be to just get out and vote for somebody. ... The main (election issue) would be that the state cut its spending before it decides about new taxes."

Lail Spurgin of Soldotna, central peninsula resident for 35 years, said she would not vote: "I don't vote. I just never got into politics, but I hear about it all the time. People always say, 'Oh you should vote,' but I just haven't gotten around to it. ... I plan to sometime."

Tonda Feik of Kenai, office manager, central peninsula resident of 19 years, said she would vote: "I don't like (the changes to the primary). I'm not a Republican and I'm not a Democrat. I don't like having to choose."

Marilyn Wheeless of Kenai, legal secretary, central peninsula resident of 20 years, said she would vote: "I'm not in favor of the changes. I'm nonpartisan. I like to vote for who I vote for, not that I won't cross (party lines) to vote for who I want."

An election issue of importance to her was moving the capital. "I think they should leave it right where it is. All (the move) is going to do is cost a lot of money and (legislators) would still do what they do now."

Daniel Aaronson of Soldotna, attorney, central peninsula resident for 24 years, said he would vote: "I wish they would quit redistricting all the time. There's too many candidates down here who don't understand peninsula issues.

He was interested in the capital move as an election issue. "I do think (it should be moved). They should have moved it 10 years ago."

Doug Sloan of Kenai, slope worker, central peninsula resident for 20 years, said he would vote: "I think it should be an open primary. I don't like (the changes)."

An election issue of interest for him was "just a change of people in Juneau. It seems pretty stagnant and unable to do anything. So I hope there are some changes."

Brian Rohn of Nikiski, a radiographer on the slope, central peninsula resident for 20 years, said he probably would vote: "(The changes to the primary) seem kind of odd."

Taxes were an election issue of concern to him: "I hate it when the government takes my money. (I support) whatever it takes to keep them out of my pockets the most. But either way, the government gets what it wants."

Sally Bollinger, Soldotna, retired and bingo hall worker, central peninsula resident for 20 years, said she would vote: "I don't like (the changes to the primary). I think you ought to be able to vote for whoever you want to. Now it's one party against another."

Interviews were conducted Thursday afternoon at the Kenai and Soldotna post offices.



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