Navarre ready to tackle health care, LNG plant

By McKibben Jackinsky

Staff writer

Unofficial results from Tuesday’s election indicate Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Mike Navarre is headed into another term. With 28 of 29 precincts reporting, Navarre has taken 53.52 percent of the vote in a three-way race against Tom Bearup of Soldotna and Carrol J. Martin, also of Soldotna.

Navarre had 4,794 votes. Bearup was in second place with 3,270 or 36.51 percent of the vote. Martin was in third, with 846 votes of 9.45 percent of the vote.

“I don’t think we’re headed to a runoff and I’m really pleased with that,” said Navarre, who believes voter support reflected a rejection of negativity he said plagued the campaign for borough mayor. “We have a lot of challenges ahead of us and need to put the election behind us and focus on how we meet the challenges of health care, LNG and all the other issues that we have as a community and as a borough.”

Topping Navarre’s list is “building a plan” to address health care.

“I say ‘building a plan’ because it’s a huge challenge and going to take a lot of people and a shared vision in order to find ways to solve this puzzle of the high cost of health care,” he said.

Secondly, Navarre wants to examine the borough’s overall tax structure, where the tax burden falls, “what sort of growing problems we might be seeing in the future and start looking at whether or not we need to make some changes,” he said. 

Also to be addressed is an LNG facility and gas line project “that will have huge impacts on the borough.”

In the 1980s, Navarre became increasingly involved in his family’s business and worked to keep it afloat during trying economic times. Zan Inc. now runs eight Radio 

Shacks and eight Arby’s in Alaska. He served in the Alaska Legislature from 1985-1996. His first term as borough mayor was 1996-1999; he was re-elected as mayor in 2011.

Navarre expressed appreciation to all those who helped make this a successful campaign.

“I certainly want to thank everybody in all the communities for their support,” he said. “This was a great turnout for me.”

Bearup led in two precincts on the southern Kenai Peninsula, Anchor Point and Ninilchik. He was not available for comment. However, his campaign chief of staff, Peter Zuyus of Homer, said, “Tom is not conceding at this time because, based on numbers provided by the borough, there could be a substantial amount of early voting and absentee ballots to be counted. There is no certainty as to what the percentage will be when they are counted. It could lead to the possibility of a run-off.”

Bearup and his wife founded the Family Bible Fellowship Academy, a nonprofit ministry corporation that they operate out of their home. He had previously worked in law enforcement.

Martin has experience ranching and teaching, as well as working in the oil and gas, fishing and tourism industries. He ran on a three-point platform of wild fire protection, agricultural land protection and the increase of property values as a result of more green belts. 

He was surprised by the direction of Tuesday’s election.

“I thought I’d do better a little better than that,” he said.

Kelly Cooper ran unopposed for KPB Assembly District 8-Homer, a seat that has been held by Bill Smith.

“I’m returning phone calls from all the assembly members, congratulating me and offering any assistance they can give,” said Cooper. “It’s nice they’re being so open and welcoming me to the group.”

Communication with constituents was a point Cooper often raised during her campaign. She intends to follow up by making herself available to voters on a weekly basis at local coffee shops as soon as election results are certified and she is sworn in. Certification of Tuesday’s election results is scheduled for the KPB Assembly meeting on Oct. 14. 

“I’m actually going to rotate through the coffee houses in town, beginning with Hopped Up Espresso,” said Cooper, who will announce her schedule through press releases and on Facebook.

Among the calls she received Tuesday evening was one from Smith, who could not seek re-election because of term limits.

“He was so gracious and helpful this last month to meet with me every week to get me up to speed,” said Cooper. “I appreciate his service and time with me.”

In the race for School Board District 7-Central, in which Ninilchik resides, Bill Holt was re-elected with 551 votes of 63.77 percent.

 His opponent, Damon Yearly, received 305 votes of 35.30 percent.

Borough voters also weighed in on three propositions:

Advisory Proposition A1, shall the borough exercise and fund limited animal control powers for domestic animal rescue in areas of the borough outside of cities:

No: 2,831

Yes: 2,772

Advisory Proposition A2, shall there be a mill rate of 0.2 on properties outside of cities to pay for nonareawide domestic animal rescue and care related to rescue services:

No: 3,599

Yes: 1,993

Advisory Proposition B, shall the Kenai Peninsula Borough conduct borough elections by mail:

No: 5,786

Yes: 3,046 

Proposition C, shall the South Kenai Peninsula Hospital Service Area boundaries be expanded to include the area described in KPB Ordinance 2014-26:

Yes: 1,408

No: 655

Seats on southern peninsula service area boars also were decided in Tuesday’s election:

Anchor Point Fore and Emergency Service Area, Seat E: Conrad Woodhead, 226 votes or 96.03percent;

Kachemak Emergency Service Area, Seat A: Milli Martin, 405 votes or 99.02 percent;

Kachemak Emergency Service Area, Seat B: David Bachrach, 325 votes or 98.19 percent;

Kachemak Emergency Service Area, Seat D: Buck Jones, 364 votes or 98.91 percent;

South Kenai Peninsula Hospital Service Area, Seat D: Roberta Highland, 1,601 votes or 98.40 percent;

South Kenai Peninsula Hospital Service Area, Seat E: Judith C. Lund, 1,585 votes or 99.12 percent;

South Kenai Peninsula Hospital Service Area, Seat F: Marie E. Walli, 1,634 seats or 13 percent;

South Kenai Peninsula Hospital Service Area, Seat G: Clyde T. Boyer Jr., 1,469 votes or 99.26 percent.

Kaylee Osowski of the Peninsula Clarion contributed to this story. McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at