Swarner: Experience, love for city make her best pick pick

Posted: Tuesday, September 24, 2002

For the last 19 years, Linda Swarner has been involved in the inner workings of the city of Kenai's government, a tenure she hopes to continue.

Swarner, a Kenai resident of 27 years and mother of two, has spent the last 15 years as a city council member. Prior to that, she spent four years as a member of the Kenai Library Commission. She lists these years of experience as one of her qualifications for serving on the council. Another qualification is her love for the city, she said.

"I think this is the best place to live, and I want to continue and improve the quality of life for all its residents."

Swarner, 53, earned a bachelor of arts degree in business administration from the University of Alaska Southeast and works as a business consultant. She has been the vice mayor of the council since 1999 and was on the Alaska Municipal League's legislative committee from 1987 to 1998.

In her past term, Swarner said she was happy with how the council members interacted.

"I see all seven members working together as a team to bring economic growth to Kenai and to keep the city as well-run as any large corporation and to get the most bang for the buck. I would like to see that continue as a team effort."

If re-elected to another term, Swarner said she would continue working toward finding a balance between the decreased revenue coming into the city, the increased costs the city faces and the services it provides for residents.

"Roads within the city and water and sewer projects continue to be a high priority," she said. "The increased use of the airport and anything to do with economic growth to our immediate area is very important to me, (as is) how these things affect our quality of life."

Swarner said she also is interested in seeing an assisted-living facility developed for senior citizens.

"I think that's a needed facility for our area seniors," she said.

The desire for such a facility has been voiced in several venues, like the community workshop sessions for the city's comprehensive plan. Swarner is the council's liaison to the city's Council on Aging.

The city would not be able to run an assisted-living facility, Swarner said, but she is interested in seeing one built and would support it as she can.

Another area of interest that gets Swarner's support is the library, which comes from her past membership on the library commission. The library commission is trying to get enough funding to build an addition.

One area Swarner would like to see the council improve on is its communication with its constituents. The level of communication the council has with its constituents now is not necessarily bad, she said, citing the city's newsletter as one way it seeks to stay in touch with Kenai residents. But it could be better.

"I think there is always room for improvement, especially with lesser funds available to do the services that the constituents desire," she said.

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