Deb Lowney leads a group of Paul Banks Elementary students along a recently-completed trail at Karen Hornaday Park on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017 in Homer, Alaska. The kids volunteered to transplant pine trees from a nearby street to the trails to help diversify the plant life in the park. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Deb Lowney leads a group of Paul Banks Elementary students along a recently-completed trail at Karen Hornaday Park on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017 in Homer, Alaska. The kids volunteered to transplant pine trees from a nearby street to the trails to help diversify the plant life in the park. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Lowney withdraws from council race

Homer City Council candidate Deb Lowney announced Wednesday that she no longer intends to run for one of two open seats on the council and would be unable to take office if elected.

Lowney, a member of the Parks, Arts, Recreation and Culture Advisory Commission, had filed to run along with incumbent council members Donna Aderhold and Heath Smith. In the Oct. 2 election, city voters can vote for two candidates for two 3-year council seats. With Lowney out of the race, that makes Aderhold and Smith the presumptive winners.

Lowney’s name will still be on the ballot, said City Clerk Melissa Jacobsen The deadline to withdraw was Aug. 15. Lowney announced her intention not to run in a letter to the City Clerk’s office in an update on her city candidate statement.

City voters also will choose a new mayor from candidates David Lewis and Ken Castner III.

Lowney said she is not running because of new responsibilities caring for the children of her niece, Shay Lowney, 47, who died from complications of an illness on Aug. 29. Shay Lowney was chief financial officer for South Peninsula Haven House and a single mother, and is survived by three school-age children, Parker, Thatcher and Channing. Deb Lowney and her husband, Ralph Broshes, are now guardians of the children “and have lovingly taken them under their wings,” according to Shay Lowney’s obituary.

“Family always comes first,” said Smith of Deb Lowney withdrawing from the race. “In light of tragedy, that’s probably the right thing to do.”

Aderhold said she understood why Lowney has pulled out of the race.

“I feel so bad for Deb and her family that they’re having to go through this,” she said.

Aderhold said she wished there were more candidates running for council.

“I think having choice is good for voters,” she said. “It would be better if we had at least a third candidate so people would have the opportunity to select somebody.”

Aderhold agreed with Smith that family takes precedence over politics.

“The biggest thing for me is what Deb and her family are going through,” Aderhold said. “… I hope the community will support her and her family and what they’re going through.”

A celebration of life for Shay Lowney will be held from 6-9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7, 2018, at the Homer Elks Lodge. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the children’s college funds at https://www.gofundme.com/shay039s-memorial-fund.

Reach Michael Armstrong at marmstrong@homernews.com.

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