Soldotna City Council member and vice mayor Jim Stogsdill made his first appearance on the council to fill the seat vacated by Ken Lancaster when he became mayor, after Gary Davis was elected to the Alaska Legislature. Now, years later, history may be repeating itself.
If Stogsdill is re-elected on Oct. 3, and if Lancaster is elected to the state House on Nov. 7, Stogsdill, as vice mayor, will serve as interim mayor of Soldotna until a special election is held.
But at this time, Stogsdill said, he has no intention of seeking that office permanently.
"Frankly, I don't see myself as mayor of the city," he said. "I really don't want to be the full-time mayor. I don't think that in the summer, when I'm guiding, I could commit to the mayor's job.
"I like guiding and I'm loath to give that up," he added. "Someone would have to devote several hours a day to (being mayor), and I wouldn't be able to. I don't feel I could do it justice."
Name: Jim Stogsdill
Office sought: Soldotna City Council Seat A
Occupation: Retired, fishing guide
Family: Spouse, Alyson; children, Holley
Residency in Alaska: 31 years
Years in Soldotna: Since 1984
Education: 3 years college
Political and government experience: 7 years, Soldotna City Council; 2 years, Planning and Zoning
Business and professional positions: Owner, Fish Happens Guide Service
Service organization memberships: Elks
Best way for voters to reach me: Through Soldotna City Hall at 262-9107 or at home, 262-5622
Stogsdill, a retired Alaska State Trooper, first entered local government as a member of Soldotna's Planning and Zoning Commission before applying to fill Lancaster's shoes on the council. While he's lived in various communities in the state as a trooper, Stogsdill said, he applied to be transferred to Soldotna in 1984 and has been here ever since. He retired from the troopers in 1993, not long after being appointed to the council.
Besides its obvious proximity to the troopers' E Detachment headquarters, Stogsdill said, he and his wife chose Soldotna to live partially because of the availability of housing.
"When we showed up in town to look for a house, there weren't many available," he said.
The couple bought a new foundation that was already poured, redesigned it and built a home.
"We've never regretted it," he said.
Stogsdill said he used to be very active in the PTA and site-based councils while his daughter was growing up and in school and enjoys being involved, which is why he enjoys being on the council.
"There's something to do every day, and I'm pretty much a homebody, so I can devote a little more to city business," he said.
He said his years in law enforcement and volunteering have given him the skills to simplify issues.
"I feel I have a fair share of common sense in my approach to problems. At least I like to think I do," he said. "Sometimes, things get complicated and real emotional when they shouldn't, and I try to find a way to the meat of the matter and draft some sort of resolution that's not complicated."
Stogsdill, like David Carey, is running unopposed for re-election.
"I don't know that running unopposed is a good thing," Stogsdill said. "It's always easier to run unopposed, you don't have to advertise and go to debates.
"But at the same time, if someone stepped up who was more than capable, I might not have run myself," he added. "But I don't feel like just walking away."
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