Assembly candidates share views: Dan Chay, District 1

Posted: Thursday, October 02, 2003

As I write this, four weeks have passed since I filed to run for Borough Assembly, and three weeks remain until Oct. 7, Election Day.

Among other things, I aim to knock on 500 doors by Oct.7, introducing myself face-to-face. Doing that was not easy at first, but it's become fun. Thank you.

For those among you I won't reach going door to door, here are some different things I've shared about myself when people have had time and interest to visit.

Local Ties:

I was born in Alaska. My folks, Tina and Erik Barnes, bought a setnet site north of Kenai in 1961. Once a week those early days, we took a bath at the Harbor View Hotel in old Kenai as my parents used to say, "Whether I needed it or not."

My wife, Heidi, and I have two daughters, Maya and Freya, who go to Aurora Borealis Charter School and work on the fish site during the summer.

My affection for this area and our people is one reason I have for running.

Business Experience:

I consider myself fiscally conservative. I like a cushion in savings, minimal debt and a full gas tank. I can manage a budget.

I am forward-looking and like to experiment with innovation.

I've been successfully self-employed all my adult life, more than 25 years. For a long time, I made my living as a commercial fisherman (Bristol Bay, False Pass, Prince William Sound, Togiak) and a commercial pilot (flight instruction, herring spotting and some charter).

I went to university, traveled extensively, and lived in China for several years, but always returned for part of the year to make a living.

In 1991, after leaving China, Heidi and I started studying mediation, facilitation and conflict resolution. We started doing this for a living in January 1996. It became our sole livelihood in 1998 when we got out of fishing.

We helped establish Alaska and Kenai's first successful court-affiliated mediation programs. We are co-founders of the Center for Mediation and Community Dialogue, which offers mediation with trained volunteer community mediators. We've co-mediated hundreds of cases.


I regard learning as a core personal and community value, crucial to constructive adaptation and sustainability. I look forward to when our organizations and communities regard themselves as "learning organizations," and "learning communities."

As for formal education, I received a B.A. from Brown University (history). I also studied at Beijing University, China, and the Business and Law Schools, University of Hawaii.

Skills and Commitment to Work:

I hope my background in leading voluntary group problem-solving processes will enhance our ability to deal with contentious issues.

As I've written elsewhere, I will introduce a method called "scenario planning" to the borough's comprehensive planning.

In particular, I want to help our communities adapt constructively to changes that already are beginning to force themselves upon us.

I will be tough on problems while inviting solid information from all perspectives. I will show up ready to work hard and work smart.

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