Raymond Tauriainen usually spends his Tuesday evenings discussing the Bible with a men's group.
"We go through the books in the Bible and look for their application in life," Tauriainen said. Discussions of the scriptures allow him to gain new perspective and contemplate his worldview, Tauriainen said.
"It's not exactly an epiphany. It's just something that causes you to re-evaluate," Tauriainen said.
But once Tauriainen takes Nikiski's Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly seat, his Tuesday nights will change. He's running unopposed for the job.
Though he will no longer be discussing the Bible, there are some parallels between Tauriainen's men's meetings and how he will approach his work on the assembly.
"It's about being open to hearing other issues and getting a little different insight. In the group it might be a life application and a new way of looking at loving your neighbor in a different way," Tauriainen said. "On the assembly, new perspective may cause you to vote in a different way than what you previously thought."
In general, Tauriainen considers himself to be a thinker. Even when cutting down fishing nets, he doesn't mind the monotony because it provides an opportunity to ponder.
"I'm a thinker in terms of what's the best way to proceed with my life as a husband and father and now that I'm retired I look at the different directions in my life."
On the assembly, Tauriainen hopes to be a forward thinker.
"We need to look at what are the projections for revenue sources coming in, what are the expected costs? Are they going up or going down?" Tauriainen explained. "Things change and we need to make decisions appropriately."
Tauriainen lives on Tauriainen Trail in Nikiski. The family homestead resembles a summer camp with chairs lined up on patios next to the lake and children's toys, like a swing set and a girl's Power Wheels vehicle, sitting in the yard. The family is known for hosting big summer barbecues and jumping into icy water after relaxing in the lakeside sauna.
But Tauriainen spends many of his days quietly taking care of chores and reading books he can relate to.
Per his daughter's suggestion, he recently read "Night" by Elie Wiesel, a book about life in Nazi concentration camps.
Though emotionally draining, Tauriainen said he learned a lot from the book.
"I was impressed with his faith being challenged to the core based on what he went though. His faith went through major testing, but eventually it sounds like he came back to the faith."
That's says a lot to Tauriainen.
"To me that was refreshing. It wasn't something that was destroyed," Tauriainen said. "Faith is important to me and having a positive outlook is important."
Andrew Waite can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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