Former Kenai mayor wants borough post

Posted: Thursday, November 25, 2004

The long-time former mayor of the city of Kenai has filed notice with the Alaska Public Offices Commission announcing he intends to run for mayor of the Kenai Peninsula Borough next year.

The letter of intent filed with APOC on Nov. 12 clears the way for Williams to begin accepting cam-paign donations, and permits him to make campaign expenditures prior to declaring his candidacy with the borough clerk's office.

Williams served six terms 18 years in all as mayor of the city of Kenai. He announced his decision not seek re-election to that office at a Kenai Chamber of Commerce meeting in June.

A borough term-limit law prevents Mayor Dale Bagley from running for another term as borough mayor. That will mean all new candidates for the 2005 Municipal Election next October.

As of Tuesday, Williams was the only candidate to formally file with the commission.

"Well, it's a new challenge," he said Wednesday. "Being mayor of the borough is different than being mayor of the city. There are similarities, of course, in leadership and the political end of things, but the role of the borough mayor is more a management job. The borough mayor gets directions of policy from the assembly."

Williams has years of managerial experience and experience in public office to draw from, and, as he put it, "years and years of connections."

"I believe I am eminently qualified for the job," he said. "I think I'd be a good borough mayor."

Williams said he had considered running for mayor a few times in the past, but abandoned the idea largely because friends and associates were running, such as former mayor Mike Navarre, former state Rep. Ken Lancaster and former mayor Don Gilman.

Asked who he thought might also jump into the fray, Williams said he'd heard lots of names "bandied around out there," including assembly President Gary Superman, assembly member Pete Sprague, Soldotna City Mayor Dave Carey and Community and Economic Development Division business manager Jack Brown.

Another name occasionally rumored to be considering a run for borough mayor is former state Sen. John Torgerson.

Superman said he was undecided at this point, noting he'd just taken over as president of the assembly and had his hands full.

"I'd like to wait and see how things pan out. Some people have asked me about it. Some were encouraging, some not. It's really way too early," he said.

Carey was noncommittal when reached Wednesday.

"I would only comment that many people have been asking me to consider it," he said.

Asked if he intended running, Lancaster was quite definite. "No sir, I sure don't," he said.

Likewise, Sprague said he was not thinking about it.

"The chances are about 99.9 percent that I will not be running for borough mayor," he said.

Brown, on the other hand, said he would make no decision until after the first of the year.

Efforts to reach Torgerson for comments on Wednesday afternoon were unsuccessful.

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