Candidate QA: Raymond Walker

Longtime Homer resident and first time political hopeful Raymond Walker has added his name to the list of those vying for a seat on the Homer City Council this fall.

Walker is running for one of the two open seats on the council in the Oct. 6 election.

A 30-year resident of Alaska, Walker is now retired. He is the father of Rep. Sarah Vance (R-Homer), and has two sons.

According to his candidate statement filed with the city, Walker ran a bed and breakfast with his wife, Coletta. He has also worked in construction management, as a consultant and as an operator manager in oil field services, according to the Kenai Peninsula Borough voter pamphlet.

Walker is a member of the National Rifle Association, the Kachemak Bay Gun Club and the United States Concealed Carry Association.

Question: What made you decide to run for Homer City Council?

Answer: If not me, then who? If not me, then who will stand up and advocate for the values that I hold dear, and the values that I taught my children and am currently teaching my grandchildren. I do not believe the current city council represents the values of the community. I want to bring balance to the city council so that the community as a whole can flourish and grow. It is common knowledge that a lot of people consider the monetary funds of any government agency to be free money, or theirs to use as they see fit. Without any recompense for expenditures. That is called entitlement. I have seen it all over the state and in every local government. Responsibility and authority are two sides of the same coin. If you have the authority, you should be responsible to the real “employers”’ the people.

Q: Other than the issues caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, what do you see as the three biggest issues facing the city currently?

A: 1. I would like to see the city maximize the resources that we have right in front of our face. Tourism is a source of revenue but as we have seen this year, it can fluctuate drastically at any given time. We took some advantage of the spruce bark beetle kill and run its course. We have a boat harbor that is a huge asset to the city but untapped as a state resource. There is so much potential in building a large boat harbor to accommodate, manufacture, and repair the largest of vessels waiting to be had. Are we going to move on it or let it pass us by, singing “in the sweet by and by?”

2. As we have seen lately, we have lost our airline travel status. If we attracted business opportunities to our city, we would need to provide adequate air travel for potential prospects to fly to and fro larger populations.

3. In recent years, we have annexed new households into the city limits to increase our tax base, without providing the new tax payers the real benefit of water and sewer. I believe it is time to make an attempt to make them full partners in our city benefits instead of just holding a gun to their head demanding taxes.

Q: What could Homer be doing better in terms of handling and mitigating the COVID-19 pandemic (if anything)?

A: In the beginning of this year when the virus started hitting the world population, no one knew what was right or wrong at the time. Only guesses. We started shutting down everything that was not essential services. Only essential service were allowed to stay open. The government made choices as to who could or could not stay open. Some would say was a violation of our rights. Grocery stores, gas stations, home repair places such as Home Depot, Lowe’s, SBS, pharmacies, etc. were essential services. But, liquor stores, casinos, weed stores, abortion clinics all the while not allowing necessary surgeries to happen. A lot of people bought into the fretful fear mongering in that the left want to control the population and in reality the cure was more dangerous than the virus. So, what do we do now? I would say, wear masks while in public, wash your hands and enjoy the outdoors.

Q: What will be the biggest priority/priorities heading into the city’s next budget cycle?

A: Not knowing what the revenues will be this year due to the COVID-19 panic. We will probably be facing hard questions as to how to keep a balanced budget for the next budget cycle. In visiting with some local business people, some have had a bumper year. Others are staying afloat, while some have basically closed the doors. The first thing some people want to do is raise taxes. Raising taxes is the easiest thing to do if you are spending other peoples money. But, if you are spending your own money, you will have to prioritize and cut where necessary to balance the budget. I an not in favor of raising taxes, period. No taxes without a fight.

Q: What skills do you bring to the table that would make you an effective council member?

A: I have lived in Homer for the last thirty years. I have been a superintendent and or construction manager for most of that time. It is the superintendents job to set the standards for the job. Much the same way that a dad sets the standards that a family abides by. What is acceptable and what is not acceptable. I have a very high standard work ethic. I have managed multi million dollar projects all over the state of Alaska which included many water treatment plants and sewer treatment plants and even several vacuum sewer plant systems. Being able to think “outside the box.”

Q: What is your favorite book and why?

A: I do not read a lot, so picking my favorite book is very easy. My favorite book is the “Instruction Manual from the Original Manufacture.” Some would call it the Scriptures or maybe even the Bible. The original manufacturer, knew us better than we know ourselves and even points out things we need to be doing and even things that would be detrimental to our health and well being if we failed to comply.