Chay joins assembly; 2 incumbents to remain

Posted: Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Tuesday's election has given the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly one new face and returned two incumbents to their respective seats for three more years.

Dan Chay of Kenai unseated incumbent John C. Davis of Kenai in the assembly District 1-Kalifornsky race, while District 6-East Peninsula incumbent Ron Long and District 9-South Peninsula incumbent Milli Martin, neither of whom faced an opponent, easily were re-elected.

All the seats are three-year terms.

Chay's victory appears to have been the product of a lot of door-to-door campaigning. A political newcomer, Chay said he knocked on some 580 doors during a seven-week effort, figuring he had to make his face familiar to enough potential voters to have a chance.

It apparently paid off. By a margin of almost two to one, Chay unseated Davis -- a successful veteran of assembly races through the 1970s and early 1980s who had returned to the fray last year, winning a one-year seat created by redistricting.

"I suppose it's going to take a little time to sink in," Chay said late Tuesday night as he enjoyed a 62 percent to 37 percent lead.

"I feel flattered and grateful. A lot of people stepped up and were helpful in a lot of different ways and I'm appreciative," he said.

Chay said the Arctic Winter Games likely would be an issue. He said he was looking forward to connecting with borough planners and with Mayor Dale Bagley and getting his feet on the ground.

Chay, a mediator by profession, campaigned on a platform of consensus building. He said he'd recommend the experience of campaigning to others.

"By itself, the run was worthwhile," he said.

Contacted Tuesday night, Davis said that from talking with his opponent it was clear Chay wanted the job.

"He worked really hard. I think that's a good thing. He's young and aggressive and says he has new ideas, and I wish him well," Davis said.

Tuesday night, Long said he appreciated the confidence shown him by voters, but added he and the rest of the assembly would need the public's continued support as they begin facing some critical decisions that "can't be made in a vacuum."

On the table in the coming months will be the external challenges of declining federal and state funding, he said.

"We'll need to tune our budget up as tight as we can to fund education and essential services," he said.

In the South Peninsula district, Martin, who lives on Diamond Ridge, thanked her supporters and said she was "looking forward to the next three years."

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