<span class="neFMT neFMT_PhotoCredit">Photo provided by Willy Dunne</span>                                Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly member Willy Dunne, pictured here, is running for re-election in October for a second term.

Photo provided by Willy Dunne Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly member Willy Dunne, pictured here, is running for re-election in October for a second term.

Willy Dunne seeks second Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly term

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to clarify that Willy Dunne’s opinion piece he sought to run in local newspapers was about an ordinance he proposed to do away with the borough’s invocation policy.

Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly member Willy Dunne is running for a second term in office.

He’s running for a three-year term on the District 9 seat, which covers the Southern Kenai Peninsula. A retired biologist and mariner, Dunne has lived in Fritz Creek for 31 years and has been an Alaska resident for the same amount of time.

He faces Homer area homesteader and business owner Troy Jones, who is running for the same public office.

Dunne said he chose to run for re-election because there’s still a lot of important work to be done.

“I’ve gotten to work now with two different mayors,” Dunne said, “And with our current mayor I see the need to be very closely involved with the budget. There’s a lot of pressure to cut services, but I think a lot of those services are critical to the residents. So we’ll need to watch that closely.”

Dunne said the problem is that the borough has been dipping into its savings to pay the bills, which he said is not sustainable.

“We’re getting close to the minimum level of savings right now,” he said. “The mayor, very early in his term, came to the assembly and showed us a graph, and said if we do not increase revenues we will … spend our savings. So as much as he wants to cut the budget and I want to keep a close eye on the budget and not let it get out of control, it’s clear that with increased expenses, inflation, the growing population that needs services, we need to somehow come up with some increased revenue.”

Supporting schools and education is Dunne’s other top priority, he said. He said he was disappointed with Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce’s veto this past budget cycle that eliminated $652,000 that would have been used by the Kenai Peninsula Borough School district for school safety and counseling.

“I believe that education is one of the best investments we can make as a society,” Dunne said.

“At the 11th hour the mayor vetoed $600,000 from the school budget, which was kind of a blow to the process, I thought,” he continued.

When asked what he is most proud of accomplishing over his previous term, Dunne said it’s the work he’s been able to do with the smaller communities in the district, like the Russian Old Believer villages and villages across Kachemak Bay. He spoke about the process to get Homer’s South Peninsula Athletic and Recreation Complex (SPARC) approved and built.

“That was very rewarding, to be able to help that process along,” he said. “Then working with people in Seldovia to help get a community garden going, and you know, possibly using borough property for that. So the small community, public-private partnerships. Working with local groups to help improve our community.”

Dunne was the subject of some controversy when he sued the borough over a free speech issue. He claimed the borough had originally sought to keep him from publishing an opinion piece in local newspapers about an ordinance he proposed to get rid of the borough’s controversial invocation policy. The borough was involved in a lawsuit over the policy at the time.

An attorney for the borough refuted that claim.

Dunne was eventually allowed to run the opinion piece, the case was dismissed with prejudice, and the borough paid $10,000 to Dunne’s attorney for fees.

An image posted to the “Alaska district 31 alert” Facebook page states the lawsuit cost the borough $30,000. It goes on to read: “Time for Dunne to be DONE. Time to elect Troy Jones to Assembly District 9.” Text on the image says it was paid for by Alaska Republican Party District 31.

Reach Megan Pacer at mpacer@homernews.com.

More in News

Clem Tillion of Halibut Cove poses for a photo on Jan. 9, 2020, in Homer, Alaska. The veteran Alaska legislator was passing through Homer while waiting to take the M/V Tustumena ferry to Kodiak. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Clem Tillion, PFD founder and former legislator, dies at 96

Tillion died Wedneday, Oct. 13, at Halibut Cove home.

Thunder Mountain High School on April 18.  Earlier this fall, vandalism including stolen soap dispensers and toilets clogged with foreign objects such as paper towel rolls were a problem at schools nationwide and in Juneau. But, principals say the local situation is improving. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
After brief surge, vandalism subsiding at local high schools

Principals say internet trends, stress likely behind incidents.

In this Jan. 8, 2020, photo Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, heads to a briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington. An Alaska man faces federal charges after authorities allege he threatened to hire an assassin to kill Murkowski, according to court documents unsealed Wed., Oct. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite,File)
Delta Junction man faces charges over threatening Murkowski’s life

Authorities allege he threatened to hire an assassin to kill the senator.

Donna Aderhold recites the Homer City Council oath of office and is sworn in for duty at the city council meeting on Oct. 11. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
New council members sworn into duty Monday

Newly-elected Homer City Council members Shelly Erickson and Jason Davis and re-elected… Continue reading

Runners participate in boys varsity race at the Ted McKenney XC Invitational on Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021, at Tsalteshi Trails just outside of Soldotna, Alaska. The trails recently reported incidents of vandalism and theft. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Vandalism and theft reported at Tsalteshi Trails

One trail user reported stolen skis recently and multiple signs have been defaced.

At left Bonita Banks, RN, Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) nurse at Homer Medical Center, and at right, Annie Garay, RN, Community Health Educator, pose for a photo at South Peninsula Hospital on Sept. 27, 2021, at Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Derotha Ferraro/South Peninsula Hospital)
New hospital community health educator starts

Garay, a Homer raised nurse, came home to ride out COVID-19, wound up doing pandemic nursing.

The logo for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is displayed inside the George A. Navarre Borough Admin Building on Thursday, July 22, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Montessori school goes to universal indoor masking

As of Tuesday, eight KPBSD schools were operating with universal indoor masking for staff and students.

Commercial fishing and other boats are moored in the Homer Harbor in this file photo. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Seawatch: Crabbers look at cuts to quotas

Tanner, opilio crab quotas cut on top of cancellation of fall king crab fishery.

Gavel (Courtesy photo)
Judge sides with psychiatrists who alleged wrongful firing

Two psychiatrists said they were wrongfully fired when Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy took office.

Most Read