As a leading national candidate continues trying to convince Americans they want to change, two candidates running for mayor of Soldotna are in no hurry to leave the small town look behind.
When asked what they would like Soldotna to look like after their three-year term as mayor, Soldotna Councilman Peter Micciche said it's most important that Soldotna "has the look and feel of a successful small Alaska town that's easily identified as a city on the river with a small town feel," and Chuck Davis, a former councilman, said he would like to see the city look like it does now.
"I'm not an advocate for a lot of change," Davis said, though he would like to see existing parks and playgrounds enhanced.
Davis also said he would like the city to revisit annexation, but "in a more friendly approach than the last time."
In terms of striving to make Soldotna a success, Micciche said, "We're looking at planting the seed now so our children will enjoy the shade."
During his three-year term as mayor, Micciche said he "will lay the foundation."
Having served on the city council, both candidates were asked how difficult it would be for them to exercise the mayoral veto power allowed by Soldotna statute.
"In my view, a successful leader should never have to exercise veto power," said Micciche. "Part of the responsibility of a leader is to work with the council.
"When the mayor is not engaged with the body, that's when you will see a mayor who feels he will have to react against the will of the city council," Micciche said. "I hope for that never to occur during my term. The only time is when the council is working against the will of the people."
Davis also said he does not anticipate the need to exercise the veto. When he served as a councilman earlier, Davis said he only recalled one time in eight years that the mayor vetoed a decision of the council.
"I don't anticipate it, but I am not at all afraid to use the veto power," Davis said.
The candidates also were asked how willing they would be to compromise on some issues in order to garner approval of something they believed to be most important.
"As I've demonstrated as a councilman, I believe the key to any successful relationship is based on all parties looking out for what's best for the people, and finding a compromise that results in what's best for the community," said Micciche.
"I believe the world is made up of compromise," said Davis. "In my job, there is a lot of negotiating and a good negotiation is when there's give and take ... neither party gets exactly what they want."
When asked why people should vote for him, Micciche said, "I have a clear understanding of the financial issues facing the city and a plan to solve them. I have the commitment, energy and experience to help us finally succeed in getting those things done."
As a longtime resident of Soldotna, Davis replied by saying he has "some of the history issues covered. I'm not up to speed on the cemetery issue ... I haven't spoken to all the volunteers who put time in on it.
"People trust me," Davis said. "My strong point is negotiations, and I have a strong aptitude on the budget process."
The Regular Municipal Election is Oct. 7. Incumbent Soldotna Mayor Dave Carey is running for mayor of the Kenai Peninsula Borough against borough Mayor John Williams.
Phil Hermanek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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