Jenckes: One issue ignites desire to serve on council

Posted: Tuesday, September 30, 2003

James "Jim" Jenckes may have gotten interested in city politics because of a single issue, but that narrow focus has broadened to encompass an interest in the whole of Kenai's government.

Originally, the controversy over the city awarding a facilities management partnership agreement for the Kenai Recreation Center to the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Kenai Peninsula got Jenckes interested in local politics.

But now more issues have come to his attention.

"I see there's more to it than that," he said. "After going to a few council meetings, I want to be a part of the future here in Kenai. I've raised four kids here and it's been a great place and I'd like to see it stay that way."

He is running for a two-year seat against two opponents.

Jenckes, 52, has lived in Kenai for about 22 years. He has four children; his wife is Joanne. Jenckes attended about two years of college and works as an instrument technician.

He has never been elected to public office or involved in politics before, but has been an officer in Calvary Baptist Church, is a member of the Alaska State Defense Force and has had several project leader and supervisory positions in his career that have given him experience in leadership roles.

Issues of concern to him are getting the rec center open as soon as possible, primarily, and other, less attention-grabbing topics.

"I'm also concerned about public safety and the essential things water and sewer issues all those mundane things that are actually really important to you," he said.

Jenckes said, if elected, he would like to work toward getting more police patrols in neighborhoods and on the Kenai Spur Highway to increase safety and cut down on speeding.

He also would like to be a part of the Kenai Comprehensive Plan, a sort of master plan for the future of the city. Jenckes said his main interest in being involved with implementing the plan would be to help develop the downtown corridor area.

Senior services in the city is another area of interest to him. Specifically, he would like to help increase senior housing development.

As for economics, Jenckes thinks the city's financial standing "is not real bad right now," he said.

"It's actually looking better than what it was at the beginning of the fiscal year."

Jenckes is not in favor of raising taxes but would like to increase the city's revenues through encouraging more retail stores to come to the area. He said the Home Depot store set to open next year is a step in the right direction, but he would like to see another "big box" department store open in Kenai, as well.

"I don't want to increase the sales tax but I want to see more businesses established here so we can reap the benefits of the sales tax revenue," he said. "(A big box store) could help stimulate not only tax revenues to the city, but could help generate other spin-off retail ventures."

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