Kenai Mayor: Pat Porter

Posted: Thursday, September 30, 2010

Quality of life, good business environment top priorities

Occupation: Retired as Kenai Senior Citizens Director 22 years; current substitute teacher/Kenai Central High School

Business and professional organizations and other interests: Kenai Chamber of Commerce; Kenai Peninsula United Way Board Member; Family, gardening, community and helping others

Previous political experience: City Council 4 years, Mayor 6 years

1. Why are you a good representative of the City of Kenai?

The answer is simple. I love Kenai! I am proud of the leadership I have exhibited, and for the progress the city has achieved over the past six years. I have worked with our Congressional and State Legislators to help secure funding to improve the quality of our water and sewer, library expansion, city roads, Kenai River Bluff stabilization, restoration of the Russian Church. The health of the Kenai River is of vital importance to our community, as your Mayor I exhibited leadership to bring governmental agencies together to fashion a solution that resulted in the Kenai River being removed from the EPA's Impaired Water listing. I attend many community, business and governmental meetings to ensure I understand the priorities of the citizens. My relationship with the Kenaitze Tribe, Salmantof and Kenai Native Associations is excellent. As Mayor, making local government open and accessible is a personal priority.

2. What are the two biggest issues facing the city today? If elected, what do you propose to do to work on those issues?

A. Providing an environment which creates future employment for Kenai's residents

B. Maintaining the quality of life we are fortunate to enjoy.

Over the past few years we have seen the loss of resource development employment in Kenai and our surrounding area. While we have been successful in attracting new large-scale retail business, the loss of high-income employment continues to be a concern and impact our economy. If re-elected I will continue to support responsible resource development and work with local, state and federal authorities to encourage the development of the natural recourses surrounding our area.

I fully support that government should facilitate employment opportunities through the private-sector. I do not support growth of government. I will continue to support "quality of life" issues such as recreational opportunities, public safety, Kenai Library, Kenai Recreation Center, Kenai Multi-Purpose facility (ice rink), Kenai Citizens Center, children's playgrounds, and integrated trail system.

3. With the City of Kenai's comprehensive planning process upcoming, what would you recommend the city focus on now and in the future?

Our city needs to maintain focus, now and in the future, on the components of a "sustainable community."

Environment- we must protect the environment in which we live so it can be enjoyed and utilized by future generations of Kenai residents. The Kenai River and environmentally sensitive areas would be a priority.

Social -- we must provide quality of life improvements which are important to the City's residents and which are affordable.

Economy -- we must provide the infrastructure to attract economic growth in the private sector. The creation of jobs so that our children, grandchildren can raise families, of their own, in our community must be a high priority.

The update to the Kenai Comprehensive Plan will take place over the next two years. The plan is meant to serve as a guide for future community development. The city and council should guide the process to maximize public participation.

4. What does "quality of life" mean to you? What would you support to ensure this ideal for taxpayers?

Every person, I'm sure has a different definition of "Quality of Life." To me a positive quality of life, means a person who is satisfied and happy. As Mayor I have been supportive of quality of life issues which government can address. The quality of our roads, safe and clean neighborhoods, park and recreation, senior citizen services, public utilities, library and planning and zoning. I have lived in this community for over 40 years and have actively been involved with Girl Scouts, youth sports activities, senior citizens programs, United Way, beautification projects, Chamber of Commerce, civic organization, National Guard and many other service programs. I have made quality of life issues my life business my entire adult life and will continue to be attentive and responsive to citizens needs and concerns.

5. If the city was to hold another town hall meeting like the one this past spring on sustainability, what topic should city officials and citizens examine?

The town hall meeting held this past spring was a successful and productive exercise. A similar process will be utilized in the drafting of the update to the Comprehensive Plan. The City Council agreed that a town hall meeting should be held at least annually to examine topics and issues important to the City and our citizens. The topics should be suggested by administration and council members with input from the public. It might be appropriate to hold a pre-town hall meeting to determine the topics our citizens would like to address. This way the administration can research and prepare background information. Some topics might be:

Where do we want to be in 5 years and how do we plan to get there?

Are we addressing the needs of our youth? What is missing, what needs to be improved and how can we achieve proposed goals?

The list is endless.

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