Lewis: Homer can be a four-season destination

I came to Alaska in 1976 and moved to Homer in 1989. Lyn and I raised our two sons, Aaron and Robert, here. In 1993 I began a long association with Homer Hockey and served on the board for 10 years. During my tenure on the Homer Hockey board, the Kevin Bell Arena was built, which was a great accomplishment for many of us.

In 2008, I was first elected to the Homer City Council and have served ever since. During those years we have renovated the harbor, built a new harbormaster’s office, brought gas to Homer, and did our best to keep The Boys and Girls Club open. Even with declining revenue, we have not had to lay anyone off, though we haven’t been able to fill all vacant positions. The most important accomplishment was hiring a young, capable city manager who grew up in Homer. Some, but not all, of these decisions were met with controversy. Then again, this is Homer. …

Why am I running for mayor of Homer? I decided people needed a choice and now they have a choice.

I have a vision for Homer. I would like to see the city and the surrounding area become a four season destination for people in and out of state. We already have infrastructure supported by local, state and federal organizations that brings people here in the off months, and we are continuing to develop that infrastructure. Examples include ice sports supported by the Kevin Bell Arena and Homer Hockey Association, many miles of snowmachine trails supported by Snowmads, many miles of ski trails supported by Homer Nordic Ski Club as well as, and the soon to be built multi-use soccer building, supported by Homer Soccer Association.

Our community offers winter king fishing, fat tire biking, winter surfing, hiking on both sides of the bay, college courses at Kachemak Bay Campus, many arts and cultural activities, and many natural history activities on our bay. This list includes only a small fraction of the organizations that provide activities in and around Homer. If we, as a council, along with the city administration, the business community, and the nonprofits work together, we could make Homer an even greater prime four season destination for people all around the world. Tourism is a main source of income, and keeping that a vibrant and growing industry is necessary to the health of our community.

In addition, I would like for us to build the east boat harbor and expand the large vessel haul out. The harbor is one of the main economic engines for the city. We have a thriving marine trades industry in this town that provides well paying jobs, and anything we can do to help support those jobs here, we need to do.

Doing all of this while keeping our small town atmosphere, making Homer a place you feel safe in, making it a walkable town for everyone, and keeping Homer, Homer, is a priority because that is why we are here.

Can we do all of this? I don’t know. But we will try my best to keep the programs that are important for our quality of life and economic growth as safe as possible from cuts that end up being passed down. We have to work to keep South Peninsula Hospital a quality care facility; we need to fight for Kachemak Bay Campus to keep programs here that provide us with training and learning opportunities; we need to maintain the level of education that is provided by the schools for our children; and we need to make sure the government offices and headquarters that are staffed here stay here because these programs provide good paying jobs and a service to the community. They would be sorely missed if they had to relocate.

That is why I running for Mayor. I’m David Lewis and I approve this message.