In the Mendenhall Valley, the legislative race is over.
Downtown, it'll be a partisan race between incumbent Democrat Rep. Beth Kerttula and Mike Race, a Republican.
As of yesterday's filing deadline, Rep. Bill Hudson, the incumbent Republican who represents the valley, was unopposed. So, instead of raising money for a campaign, he started working on his house today, fixing a leaky faucet.
``The beauty of being unopposed is you can concentrate on communicating with your constituents and prepare for the next session,'' Hudson, 67, said. He said he plans to do some door-to-door work to survey constituents. Also, he'll be working on his pet issue -- a long-range fiscal plan for the state.
Unlike their valley neighbors, downtown voters will have a local legislative race to watch.
Kerttula, 44, just finished her first two years in the Capitol.
``I want to continue my work,'' she said. ``I believe in Alaska. I feel I had a good start in my freshman term.''
Among her key interests are continued monitoring of the oil and gas industry and cruise ship pollution. Also, she intends to push harder for additional school funding and a measure to limit class sizes, she said.
Kerttula is an attorney who previously worked as an assistant attorney general and as counsel to the state Senate Judiciary Committee. She is a former president of the Alaska State Bar.
She's married to Assembly Member Jim Powell.
Mike Race, a real estate agent, said Kerttula's effectiveness in the House is limited because of her membership in the minority. As a Republican, he said, he'll be in a better position to defend Juneau and get capital projects. Also, he said, by being in the presumptive Republican majority with Hudson, his votes will count more.
That's going to be one of his top campaigning points, he said.
``We need strength in our legislators to protect the capital and to get some funding so we can have more jobs,'' Race said today. ``I think we negate ourselves when one votes yes and one votes no.
``I think I can do a better job.''
He said he'd be trying to attract Democratic votes during his campaign.
Race, 50, is the father of two children in college. Race is divorced. He hasn't held elected office, but has been active in community organizations. He's past president of the Douglas Lions Club and serves as treasurer of the Scottish Rite Temple in Juneau. He owns Coldwell Banker Race Realty.
Kerttula said Race's assertion that her membership in the minority while Hudson is in the majority ``isn't a major issue at all.''
Hudson said he'd stay out of the downtown race, but said he didn't feel his votes and Kerttula's canceled each other.
``If that were true, we would never vote on the same side of any issue,'' he said. ``I've never viewed it as a canceling out, but as two independent agents. We've always tried to work together. We don't always see things eye to eye.''
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