Engstrom to face off against Rep. Kerttula

Republican Vick bows out on same day he enters race

Posted: Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Local business owner Andrew Engstrom declared his candidacy Tuesday to run as a Republican against Democratic Rep. Beth Kerttula.

Four other last-minute candidates also entered the race Tuesday, the last day to declare candidacy for the November election.

Douglas resident Jody Vick also declared his candidacy to run as a Republican for House District 3 against Kerttula. District 3 represents residents who live in downtown Juneau, Douglas, Lemon Creek and some neighborhoods near the airport.

Vick, however, dropped out of the race after realizing that his job with the state Department of Labor prevented him from running for office. Alaska law requires state employees to resign before running in statewide elections.

"It's the shortest campaign in Alaska history," Vick said Tuesday afternoon.

Engstrom, 38, owns Capital City Windows, a window-washing business. He is the nephew of Elton Engstrom, a former state legislator in the 1960s.

"Business is good," Andrew Engstrom said. "My family and financial situation is stable and seasonal. I have the opportunity now to serve the public, and it's something I've wanted to do."

Engstrom declined comment on his political platform but said he will release a public statement soon.

"But I can tell you education is on the top of my list," he said. "As far as details, that's as far as I can go right now."

Engstrom has never run for political office.

Kerttula, 48, said she has been a strong advocate for Juneau in the Legislature and wants to continue with her House seat. She has served three terms in the House.

"I really have loved representing Juneau, and I really enjoy my work," she said. "I'm glad to see that we have a race, and I'm glad we're going to be out there talking about the issues."

She said with Alaska North Slope Crude reaching $40.75 a barrel on Tuesday she will push next session for the state to review its windfall profits taxes on the oil industry.

"That means the state is losing hundreds of thousands of dollars," she said.

Two new candidates also entered the race Tuesday for House District 5, the seat now held by Democratic Rep. Albert Kookesh, of Angoon. Five other candidates have also filed for the seat, bring the total to three Republicans and Democrats.

Kookesh, who has served in the House since 1997, is running for Senate District C, which is being vacated by Sen. Georgianna Lincoln, of Rampart.

Bill Thomas, 57, of Haines, is running as a Republican. Thomas has worked as a commercial fisherman for 35 years and as a lobbyist for the last 15 years. Some of his clients include Kito Inc., the Kensington mine, the Haines Borough, the North Slope Borough and Klukwan Inc. He also served in the mid-1990s on the Haines Borough Assembly, as well as the Haines School Board.

He ran an unsuccessful campaign for District 5 in 1988 as a Democrat but later switched parties.

"I really haven't sat down to look at what the priorities are," he said, noting that he is running to give voters another option. He said working in the Legislature for the last 15 years as a lobbyist will enable him to work well with other lawmakers.

Timothy June, also of Haines, declared his candidacy for the District 5 seat on Tuesday as a Democrat.

June, 50, has served on the Haines Borough Assembly and the Haines School Board, and was appointed Special Assistant on Oceans and Watersheds to Gov. Tony Knowles in 2002.

June said he has been involved in grass-roots activism for years and that state and regional policy is a passion. He said he would push for fully funding education and be an advocate for the Alaska Permanent Fund dividend program.

He said he would push for higher taxes on the oil industry and a ban on aerial spraying of pesticides.

Roxanne Houston, of Sitka, also filed Tuesday to run as a Democrat against Republican Rep. Peggy Wilson. Houston could not be reached for comment.

• Timothy Inklebarger can be reached at timothy.inklebarger@juneauempire.com.

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