Burgess: Cites gasline buildout as biggest achievement on council

Beauregard Burgess

Beauregard Burgess

With Homer City Council member Francie Roberts not running for re-election, council member Beauregard Burgess is the only incumbent in the two-seat race. Appointed in April 2012 and then elected that fall to a 3-year term, he’s also the only candidate who has run for political office.

Burgess, 30, at first considered not running. He got busier with some new enterprises and said his family supported him not going for a second full term. Burgess asked other people he knew if they would be interested in running. 

At the same time, people urged him to run again, including other council members and city staff. With no one else at the time running, Burgess decided to run, among the first to submit paperwork along with candidates Bob Howard and Joni Wise. 

“I guess if no one else is going to do it and people want me to, I’m going to do it again,” he said.

Now a 10-year Alaskan, Burgess moved to Homer nine years ago. The son of two scientists and two Southerners, his parents named him after Pierre Gustavo Toutant Beauregard, the Confederate general who fired the first shot on Fort Sumter, S.C., that started the Civil War. Burgess grew up in Tucson, Ariz., where his father worked as the designer of the dryland ecology in Biosphere II, an ambitious project to build a working ecosystem separate from the planet.

Since being elected in 2012, he’s seen some changes in his life. With his father, Tony Burgess, he built and moved into a multi-generational house off Southslope Drive in the East Hill Road area. Burgess owns and manages Southern Exposure LLC, a construction, excavation and forestry company; Homer Bookkeepers; and, a new venture, the member-owned farm company, Blood Sweat and Food Farms. Blood Sweat and Food grows food traditionally as well through aquaponics, food grown in a soil medium connected to an aquarium where fish fertilize plants and plants filter water for fish.

“Mostly we’re trying to go for more sustainable, local products: compost, vegetables, pork meat, Internet communications,” Burgess said.

New ventures include raising heritage hogs. He also has been scaling up a land clearing business, doing things like chipping slash like alder trees, composting slash, milling trees and cutting firewood.

“We’re basically trying to create an alternative to bulldoze and build, the slash-pile approach to land clearing,” Burgess said.

That sometimes has meant Burgess has to recuse himself from votes on city contracts. For example, he was a subcontractor on the Homer Public Library and Town Center vegetation reduction projects, a plan to open up those areas by clearing out some scrub and reduce vagrancy and crime. Burgess said he will step away from the table for any vote on a project where he filed to get plans.

On the council, Burgess has become known for speaking his mind and is not shy about engaging citizens.

“I think if you do a good job on the city council, and you’re willing to take a position on issues, be thoughtful and articulate and justify your position, there is a 100-percent chance people will disagree with you,” he said. “People deserve to know where you stand and why.”

Burgess made a name for himself by strongly advocating an entire build-out of the Homer Natural Gas Assessment District, bringing natural gas to almost every lot in the city. He calls that his biggest achievement on the council.

“It’s so much more easy to collectively invest in infrastructure than piece-meal it out,” he said.

Like other candidates, Burgess has said he supports core services like police and fire protection, but he also said the city has failed to fund another aspect of government: depreciation.

“Homer is already functioning, not balancing its budget,” he said. “The need to fund things (out of the general fund) like Public Works trucks and ambulances is evidence of the fact we’re not balancing the budget already.”

Unlike Roberts, who at the last election said she would not run again in three years, Burgess said he didn’t know if he would run for a third term in 2018.

“I have no idea. My current term might be my last term,” he said.

Calling himself a pragmatist, Burgess said his goal isn’t to further his political aspirations, but to see people sitting on the council who will make good decisions.

“There are people who if elected I could pass the baton to. I could do more lucrative things, more fun things,” Burgess said. “There’s nothing fun about being on city council.”

More in News

Christie Hill prepares to play “Taps” during the 9/11 memorial service on Saturday. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
Homer honors lives lost during 9/11

The Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary held a Sept. 11 memorial ceremony at the… Continue reading

Judith Eckert
COVID-19 patient says monoclonal antibody infusion saved her life

Antibody infusions highly effective in reducing risk of hospitalization, according to FDA trial ..

A sign flashing “Keep COVID down” also offers information on where to get testing and vaccines on Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021, on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
SPH holding steady in COVID-19 surge

Despite hospital crisis in Anchorage, Homer’s hospital not impacted, spokesperson tells Homer City Council.

Brie Drummond speaks in support of mask mandates on Monday, Sept. 13, for the Kenai Peninsula School Board meeting at Homer High School in Homer, Alaska. During a work session before the meeting, the district presented revisions to its COVID-19 mitigation protocols. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
School district revises COVID-19 mitigation plans

The revisions come as COVID-19 cases continue to surge in Alaska and on the Kenai Peninsula.

A protester stands outside the George A. Navarre Borough Admin building in Soldotna on Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Parents square off over masks at school board meeting

Some parents said they will keep their kids home if masks are required, while others say they’ll keep their kids home if masks aren’t required.

.
Borough School Board election

On Tuesday, Oct. 5, elections will be held for Homer City Council,… Continue reading

.
Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly election

On Tuesday, Oct. 5, elections will be held for Homer City Council,… Continue reading

.
Homer City Council election

On Tuesday, Oct. 5, elections will be held for Homer City Council,… Continue reading

Janie Leask, a Homer resident, spoke in support of the new multi-use community center during Monday night’s city council meeting, stating the need for community recreation is vital.
Council moves forward with HERC plans

After years of discussions and planning, the Homer City Council is quickly… Continue reading

Most Read