4th candidate joins race for House District 6

Brent Johnson currently serves as president of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly

Brent Johnson, currently serving as the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly president, has thrown his hat into the ring for the Alaska State House District 6 primary election.

House District 6 includes the southern peninsula communities of Homer, Seldovia, Fritz Creek, Fox River, Halibut Cove, Diamond Ridge, Anchor Point, Nikolaevsk, Happy Valley, Ninilchik, Clam Gulch and Kasilof.

Johnson filed a letter of intent to run with the Alaska Public Offices Commission on April 15, and submitted his letter of intent to the Alaska Division of Election last Thursday, April 18.

A nonpartisan candidate, Johnson told Homer News on Friday, April 19 that he made the decision to run after the State Legislature failed to override Gov. Dunleavy’s veto of Senate Bill 140, the education bill that originally passed with overwhelming bipartisan support.

“A number of people had asked me to run, and I thought ‘no, I want to finish my job on the assembly,’” Johnson said. “I wasn’t going to run. But then when news came that … (the veto override) only failed by one vote, I thought, ‘I just have to do this’. That’s what really threw me over the edge.”

In line with this, Johnson said his primary concern if elected will be to ensure adequate funding for education in the state.

“The biggest thing … (is) that we increase the BSA enough to take care of adequate funding, and then we inflation-proof that so that we don’t have this wrestling match every year; we just automatically increase with inflation,” he said.

The BSA, or base student allocation, is the amount of money the state spends per K-12 student.

Additionally, Johnson anticipates addressing issues on commercial fishing, roads and oil and gas.

“I’ve been a commercial fisherman my whole life, so I’m sure that I can do commercial fishermen some good,” he said. “There’s road issues, there are oil and gas issues — we’re running out of gas here in the borough, so that’s going to be something to look at. There’s going to be a lot of things.”

Johnson is currently serving his second term on the borough assembly, representing District 7 for the central peninsula. He also previously served on the KPB Planning Commission for 15 years, from 1995 to 2010.

Johnson’s term as borough assembly president is set to expire in October 2025. If he is elected as the House District 6 representative in November, the assembly will appoint someone, based on applications, to temporarily fill his seat until a formal election is held at the end of the term.

Johnson said that his background serving on the borough assembly and planning commission will provide valuable experience in the House if he is elected.

“Every year we balance the budget on the assembly, every year we work with the school district … and (in) serving on the planning commission, I learned a lot about land,” he said. “The state still hasn’t awarded the borough all the land they promised us when we became a borough back in 1964, so we should go ahead and get the rest of our land. It’s about time.”

He also said his experience working with others on the assembly will help him in both his campaign and in serving as representative.

“There will be no end of issues, but … it has to be an experience of working with people,” he said. “You never get to pass a piece of legislation with one vote on the assembly, it takes five. I always work with other people.”