Ex-ferry head to run against Rep. Weyhrauch

Incumbent would fight fiscal gap, challenger a 'hostile administration'

Posted: Sunday, May 30, 2004

Rep. Bruce Weyhrauch, R-Juneau, is running for a second term in the House, and as of Friday he will face off against former ferry system manager Bob Doll.

House District 4 represents residents of the Mendenhall Valley and points north.

Rep. Beth Kerttula, D-Juneau, is running unopposed for a fourth term representing downtown Juneau, Douglas, Lemon Creek and some neighborhoods near the airport.

Forty House seats, including five in Southeast, are up for election in November. The deadline to declare candidacy is Monday.

Doll, 68, said he's running against the incumbent as a Democrat to counter efforts by the Murkowski administration to target Juneau as a community.

"I'd like to live in a city that is not the target of an indifferent, if not hostile, state administration," Doll said in a press release Friday. "I'd like to know that the people that have been my colleagues, neighbors and friends are not going to lose their jobs through a conscious decision by the executive."

Weyhrauch, 51, said he will continue to work on solving the state's long-term fiscal gap problem.

"I think I've done a good job of representing Juneau in the majority in the Legislature and I want to stay in there and fight," Weyhrauch said.

Three other House seats are up for re-election this year in Southeast.

District 1, which represents Ketchikan, Saxman, Coffman Cove, Ward Cove and several other smaller communities, is being vacated by retiring longtime lawmaker Bill Williams, R-Saxman.

Three candidates have filed to run for the seat, two Republicans and a Democrat.

The District 2 seat is held by Rep. Peggy Wilson, Republican of Wrangell, also includes Sitka, Petersburg, Pelican, Elfin Cove, Baranof and Mount Edgecumbe. Wilson is running unopposed so far.

Five candidates have filed to run for the District 5 seat, which covers a number of Southeast towns such as Haines, Skagway, Gustavus, Kasaan, Klawock, Tenakee Springs, Yakutat, Cordova and Craig.

Incumbent Rep. Albert Kookesh, D-Angoon, is running for the District C Senate seat vacated by Georgianna Lincoln, a Democrat from Rampart.

District 1

Dawn Allen-Herron

Dawn Allen-Herron, 45, of Ketchikan, is a minister for St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Petersburg and is a founder and former president of Coast Alaska Regional Radio. Allen-Herron also is a swimming coach for Ketchikan High School. She is running as a Democrat.

"The things I bring to the task is a real commitment and a great deal of experience and expertise in bringing people together," she said.

She said she is committed to finding a fix for the state's fiscal gap. If the state is going to use the Alaska Permanent Fund to help fill the gap, then dividends need to be protected in the state constitution, she said.

Jack Shay

Jack Shay, of Ketchikan, serves on the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly and is a former borough mayor. Shay also has served on the Ketchikan school board and is a former president of the Alaska Municipal League.

Shay, a Republican, has said his top priorities are "education, veterans' issues, senior citizens and jobs." He could not be reached for comment.

Jim Elkins

Jim Elkins, 67, of Ketchikan, is a former owner of the Fo'c'sle bar in Ketchikan and served on the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly for six years. Elkins also has worked as a lobbyist for the borough.

Last year Elkins was picked by Gov. Frank Murkowski to fill a vacated seat in the state Senate but was later rejected by Murkowski after criticizing the governor for his decision to cut Longevity Bonus payments to seniors.

"I hope to do what I was planning to do when I thought I was going to be a senator," Elkins said. "I'm not running for any vendetta. I got a nice personal note from the governor when I filed, which was appreciated."

Elkins, who is running as a Republican, said he would work to develop Southeast's and the state's resources to get the region "back on track."

District 2

Peggy Wilson

Republican Peggy Wilson, 58, of Wrangell, said education, the fishing industry and jobs are her main priorities. She has been in the Alaska House of Representatives since 2001.

Wilson, who also served three terms in the North Carolina Legislature, said Alaska must take a step back and look at the tax structures of other states to help solve the fiscal gap.

"It's still a new state, so it's got to go through some changes," Wilson said. "It's hard for some legislators to digest. Change is not easy for anyone."

She said she would push for resource development that is not tied down with extreme rules and regulations.

"Our environment is wonderful in this state, and we don't want to lose what we have," Wilson said. "We want to keep it as wonderful as we can, but we have to look at what we have in place."

District 3

Beth Kerttula

Beth Kerttula, 48, has served three terms in the Legislature as a Democrat representing downtown Juneau, Douglas, Lemon Creek and neighborhoods near the airport.

She is the House minority whip.

Kerttula said the Legislature needs a change in leadership.

"If there is no change, then this state has two more very desperate years to look forward to, and I don't think Alaskans want that," she said.

Kerttula argues that the Republican majority has made poor decisions such as eliminating the Longevity Bonus for seniors. She said she will push for creation of a natural gas pipeline and further examination of oil taxes.

District 4

Bruce Weyhrauch

Bruce Weyhrauch, 51, is running for his second term in the Legislature as a Republican. He is a past president of the Alaska State Bar Association Board of Governors and the Juneau Bar Association.

In his first term, Weyhrauch served as chairman of the House State Affairs Committee.

He said he's got a pretty good track record of passing bills in the Legislature, filing 14 pieces of legislation that passed both houses.

Weyhrauch said it's time for lawmakers to pass significant revenue measures before the state's economy goes off the cliff.

"We have to make a decision on what we want to do with the permanent fund," Weyhrauch said. "I'm almost to the point of use it or lose it."

He said he also will focus on fiscal issues and the development of a natural gas pipeline.

Bob Doll

Bob Doll, 68, served as general manager for the Alaska Marine Highway System from 1997 to 2000. He also was assistant commissioner the Southeast region of the state Department of Transportation. He now works as director of the advocacy group Better Ferries for Alaska and is a transportation consultant.

Doll is running as a Democrat.

He said the Murkowski administration has taken Juneau for granted on a number of issues such as the decision to move ferry system administrators to Ketchikan and the loss of jobs in the Department of Fish and Game and Alyeska Central School.

"I'd like to see a state government which valued the service performed by its employees rather than approaching them as adversaries," Doll said in a press release. "I'd like to see the state of Alaska adopt a fiscal plan that would encourage business development, provide a reliable future for our education system and make our city and state attractive for business investors. And, most fundamentally, I'd like to help set and maintain a standard for public officials that is not based upon whimsy, nepotism or abuse of office."

District 5

Kathy Leary

Kathy Leary, 46, is a part-time library administrator for the city of Gustavus. Leary, who is running as a Democrat, has served on the Alaska Library Association since 1995 and has worked in a variety of positions in state government.

She said cities should not be forced into mandatory boroughs and that power cost equalization needs to be fully funded.

Leary said she would support an income tax and would use some of the permanent fund to help fill the fiscal gap.

"People are shocked that we don't pay an income tax up here," she said. "I had to pay it and I didn't mind. I think it's the most equitable way to deal with things."

Dewey Skan

Dewey Skan, of Klawock, has served as legislative staff for Rep. Albert Kookesh for eight years. He also served on the Klawock City Council for nine years.

Skan is running as a Democrat. He would not reveal his age.

"This is not about seniority it's about experience," Skan said.

He said he wants full funding for the Alaska Marine Highway System, more adequate funding for school districts throughout the state and continued funding for power cost equalization.

"Real work on a comprehensive fiscal plan would be one of my priorities," Skan said, noting that he would put Alaskans first for new jobs associated with resource development. "Often Outsiders get all the jobs and we're left sitting on the sideline."

Gary Graham

This is the second run for Gary Graham, 56, who tried to unseat Rep. Albert Kookesh two years ago as a Republican. He has served on the Cordova City Council for six years.

"I think the No. 1 priority is probably the same thing everybody else is saying," Graham said. "We have to get our finances in order. I think the governor is right on track in saying we need to close this gap. I don't think we have a fiscal gap; we have a gap in allocation of funds."

He said the government should "step up to the plate" and fund education, transportation and public safety.

Doug Rhodes

Doug Rhodes, 45, is the principal of Craig High School and has worked as an educator for 23 years. He has been a commercial fisherman for 32 years.

He said he would push for increased education funding if elected.

"We need to develop some kind of funding mechanism for the schools so we can continue to operate the way we have in the past," Rhodes said, a Republican.

He said the state should look at implementing an income tax that does not exceed the value of individual permanent fund dividends to help close the fiscal gap, an idea championed by former Gov. Jay Hammond.

"I think I have a pretty diverse background from education to resource issues," Rhodes said. "I've been in just about every community in this district. I know a lot of the common issues. I have a pretty good rapport with people."

Kimberley Strong

Kimberly Strong, of Haines, is running as a Democrat. She could not be reached for comment.

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