Mike Race files for seat held by Kerttula

With deadline past, primary matchups set

Posted: Sunday, June 02, 2002

Republican businessman Mike Race filed Friday as a candidate for the House District 3 seat, held for four years by Democratic Rep. Beth Kerttula, who is running for re-election.

The filing deadline for the Aug. 27 state primary and the Nov. 5 general election was 5 p.m. Saturday. No new candidates filed for the Juneau legislative seats Saturday, state election officials said.

Attorney Bruce Weyhrauch, a Republican, and commercial fisherman and former legislative aide Tim Grussendorf, a Democrat, previously filed to run for House District 4, which includes much of the Mendenhall Valley and points north. Longtime incumbent Bill Hudson, a Republican, declined to run again.

First-term incumbent Kim Elton, a Democrat, and businesswoman and former Juneau Assembly member Cathy Muñoz, a Republican, will run for Senate District B, which includes all of Juneau. The term is four years.

Kerttula said she is running for her third term because "I love public service. It's the best work I've ever done."

Race, who hasn't held elective office, ran against Kerttula two years ago and lost by nearly a 2-1 margin. Four years ago, he offered himself as a write-in candidate for the seat, which includes Douglas, downtown, Lemon Creek and neighborhoods near the airport. House terms are two years.

"My message from two years ago hasn't changed. It's whether people are going to listen," Race said of his prospects this election. He said he expects to get votes from conservative Democrats and progressive Republicans.

For a member of the legislative minority, Kerttula "has done the best job she can. She's a good person," Race said. But "we need jobs and we need to stop the creep and we need to keep the Capitol here, and I don't see that happening," he said, using "creep" to refer to the gradual loss of state jobs in Juneau.

"I think we have done, as a (Juneau) delegation as good a job as we could have done," in keeping state jobs in Juneau, Kerttula said Saturday.

Kerttula, 46, said she's proven herself to be a "pretty effective legislator" who works well with either party and is often chosen to negotiate on issues for the Democrats. She cited her work on bipartisan landmark legislation to regulate cruise ship pollution and including a new Juneau high school in a major school construction package.

She added that with some prominent conservatives retiring, the next House is likely to be more moderate and easier to work with. And with Hudson retiring, it's important for Juneau to have some experienced legislators, she said.

Race, 52, owns Coldwell Banker Race Realty. In an interview Saturday, he hammered on the theme of creating and keeping jobs - by limiting the government's interference with private business, supporting state university research on how to use natural resources, retaining state jobs and managing the state better.

"We need jobs in this town," Race said. "I'm a businessman. One of the major problems we have in this town is lack of an economy. ... Nobody's being creative in coming up with jobs. I think we need to have a positive feeling in this town."

On two of the major unresolved issues left over from this past Legislature - a long-term solution to the budget gap and subsistence - Race said he would want to consult with experts and elders.

There needs to be a state income tax, he said, but that's not the sole answer to raising revenues to fill the gap. "It needs to be a combination" of measures, he said.

Kerttula said she worked against a proposed 3 percent statewide sales tax that would have hurt Juneau and small communities. But she supports a state income tax that would apply to out-of-state workers as well as Alaskans.

Race said he would support a state constitutional amendment for a rural subsistence priority, to match a federal requirement, if there was consensus to do that. But he said the state should be able to work out a solution on its own.

"To me, when you've got a state this size and you've got 600,000 people in it, we're all rural. To me, I find this (urban-rural) argument kind of stupid," he said.

"I think the Native population has the right to protect traditional, religious and cultural rights. We do that already. I think we need to revisit this subsistence in a more real look at it."

Kerttula said she strongly supports a constitutional amendment that would bring Alaska into line with federal law, "so we can get back control, especially of our fisheries." She's concerned that the federal government will manage only for subsistence, but she sees the state as managing for all user groups and for sustained fisheries.

Race is divorced and has two grown children. He holds a bachelor's degree in art from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

He is past president of the International Sourdough Reunion, a group interested in preserving northern history, and is the second vice president of the Pioneers of Alaska Grand Igloo. He was a longtime Douglas volunteer firefighter, and has been active in community organizations.

Kerttula, an attorney who is married to Juneau Assembly member Jim Powell, holds degrees from Stanford University and the Santa Clara School of Law. She is active in Big Brothers Big Sisters of Juneau and other organizations.

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