Following a slow start with only two candidates having filed early last week, six more candidates filed last week and on Monday to run for two seats on the Homer City Council. A majority of the candidates are women, and until three men filed almost at the last minute, the slate had been an all-female ballot.
With the filing period ended at noon Tuesday, the candidates are, in order of filing and how they will appear on the ballot:
• Sarah Vance
• Kimberly Ketter
• Caroline Venuti
• Anne Poso
• Rachel Lord
• Stephen M. Mueller
• Dwayne G. Nustvold JR.
• Andrew Kita
The top-two candidates will fill two, 3-year seats currently held by council members David Lewis and Catriona Reynolds. Lewis, Reynolds and council member Donna Aderhold beat back an effort to recall them in a special election in June. Lewis and Reynolds had said earlier they did not plan to run for re-election. Aderhold’s seat ends in October 2018.
Voters can choose two of the eight candidates running. Under city code, to avoid a runoff, a candidate must win a plurality of 35 percent of the total number of votes cast divided by the number of seats, that is, two. For example, if 2,000 total votes were cast, a candidate would need at least 350 out of 1,000 votes to avoid a runoff.
If none of the candidates won at least 35 percent, the top four would be in a runoff, again with voters selecting two. If any one candidate won at least 35 percent, there would be a runoff between the second and third place candidates, as happened when Aderhold won a plurality and Heath Smith ran and won against incumbent Beau Burgess in a runoff in 2015.
The Homer Chamber of Commerce will hold a forum for council candidates at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 28 at the Homer Elks Lodge. The election is Oct. 3.
Here is the information on the candidates as provided by them on the city website at www.cityofhomer-ak.gov/cityclerk/city-council-candidates:
“I am a lifelong Alaskan, with the good fortune to have grown up in Kodiak. I graduated from Kodiak High School and attended both UAF and UAA earning a Bachelor’s as well as a Master’s degree in Education and administration. I happily reside in Homer with my husband, cat, dog and many friends. I have served on the City of Homer Library Advisory Board as well as on the City Transportation Committee and was a member of the founding Board for the Homer Boys and Girls Club. I look forward to working with the City Council in providing Homer with opportunities that will encourage economic growth, as well as a high quality of life and adequate public safety for all citizens. The issues that I can bring my skills and enthusiasm to are: 1. Encourage growth in Homer with an emphasis on creating a friendly and livable community. 2. Maintain fiscal responsibility for the City. 3. Keep informed on climate change and work to insure adequate resilient infrastructure for this coastal community. 4. Create harmonious interactions with all the citizens of this City by treating every resident of the Homer community with respect and understanding.”
Did not provide a statement.
“Homer is a vibrant small town with an economy bolstered by fishing, tourism, and social and health services. People live and do business in Homer often for the high quality of life. This can be defined in so many ways – being close to family, natural beauty, access to fishing and hunting, strong community and spiritual connections, recreational opportunities, freedom and independence.
“My husband is a life-long Homer resident, and together we are raising two Homer-born daughters. We each also own and operate small businesses. I have enjoyed working and volunteering here as a cross country running coach, ‘Big’ for Big Brothers Big Sisters, board member at the Kachemak Heritage Land Trust and Homer Farmer’s Market, and Commissioner on the City’s Economic Development Commission. I sit on the Cook Inlet Harbor Safety Committee and work as the Executive Secretary for Alaska’s Harbormasters Association. I am the facilitator of a statewide derelict vessel task force. With my background, I sincerely appreciate the nitty-gritty details and diverse viewpoints behind every City Council decision. With your support, I look forward to serving on Council, supporting long-term and year-round economic stability, public safety, and a vibrant quality of life for all Homer residents.”
Stephen M. Mueller
“As a Homer resident/citizen, I believe we must understand and up hold the values of respect and dignity. This year exemplifies the impact of our actions and the influence they command. Yet, there is another more important reason to treat others with respect and dignity. Our neighbors/fellow citizens who we live and work with on an everyday basis are the people we will work side-by-side with in times of need. Trust begins with respect between neighbors/fellow citizens. For this reason, it is of the utmost importance to treat all people with respect and dignity.
“I offer myself and business/life experience as a candidate for City Council to represent the citizenry in decisions on their behalf. I commit to promoting the wellbeing of my neighbors/fellow citizens; cultivating community unity and reviving community pride. I want to help ensure that Homer continues as the quaint community my wife and I fell so in love with all those years ago. I currently serve as pharmacist at Ulmer’s Drug and Hardware, an officer of the Homer Elks Lodge, Friendship Center volunteer musician, and music minister at St. John’s Church. I ask for your vote.”
Dwayne G. Nustvold Jr.
“My wife and I relocated to Homer from Minnesota where we had the pleasure of raising our four children and owning several businesses. We spent six years in Homer in the years prior to our final relocation in 2008, and since our return I have commercial fished — both as a deckhand and with my own gill net operation, worked on the North Slope, as well as part time work with several businesses in town. I am retired and currently volunteer at a local nonprofit organization in town.
“I have concerns for our City in light of shrinking funds, increased costs of living, and spending decisions from our public agencies. There is a need to find sources for both our City and the residents of Homer to fill these gaps. It is important that our Council focuses on finding solutions to help our current local businesses expand and thrive as well as bringing in new employment sources.
“Our return to Homer was with retirement in sight so my days here are numbered. It is my desire to strengthen our City as a legacy to our children and grandchildren.”
“Hi my name is Andy Kita and I’m running for Homer City Council. I’ve lived in Homer since 1997 after arriving in Alaska with a backpack, guitar and nothing to lose. After 20 years I’ve gained and grown much, and lost a few things along the way. Most of what I’ve gained is through the people here, love and kindness, acceptance and tolerance. I hope my son has the opportunity to grow up in such a wonderful community.
“My motivation for making this decision is primarily a sense of duty and responsibility to the people of Homer. The time I have spent here has proven to me that there’s nowhere else like Homer anywhere. I’m not here to be right or wrong, just represent everyone equally.
“Like many of us, I’m just a working person trying to live, happy and healthy in the cosmic hamlet by the sea. Perhaps you see Homer similarly? By the way, I have zero government experience, which seems to be a trend in America. Thank you and please vote.”
Michael Armstrong can be reached at email@example.com.