Monday, December 05, 2011

Veteran Wrangell Rep. Peggy Wilson To Challenge Ketchikan "Love Caucus" Rep. Kyle Johansen For New Alaska House District 33 Seat

Update June 3rd 2012: The information given below is now partially superseded. On June 1st, Kyle Johansen withdrew as a Republican candidate and re-filed as a "No Party" candidate to avoid risking defeat by Peggy Wilson in the Republican primary. He will have to collect a minimum number of voter signatures to be placed on the general election ballot for November.

Metro Southeast: Click HERE to go to PDF version if you need to zoom

Residents of Ketchikan, Alaska who are still unhappy with Rep. Kyle Johansen over the Love Caucus flap get a prime opportunity to pass judgment upon him during the Republican primary on August 28th, 2012. Because of redistricting, his district has been combined with much of the Wrangell district of Rep. Peggy Wilson. Both are Republicans, and on December 5th, Rep. Wilson announced her intention to challenge Johansen for the Republican nomination in the new House District 33 (see map above).

Rep. Wilson discussed her political plans on two different radio shows:

-- KCAW 104.7, December 5th
-- KRBD 105.3, November 29th (also includes segment with Johansen)

KCAW has the most detailed story. Rep. Wilson, who has served six terms, admits that because both she and Johansen are friends, it does feel a bit awkward to be running against him. But she believes it's something she must do. While still interested in prospective changes to the Alaska Marine Highway System and its corresponding ferry service, she is even more interested in coastal management, and she told KRBD that the economy will remain her top priority. In 2010, legislators did away with Alaska’s coastal management program, which gives municipalities a say in development plans for coastal zones. Wilson says she would have liked to have seen the program stay in place. Gov. Sean Parnell said he doesn’t plan to introduce legislation to resurrect the program, and so a citizen’s initiative is moving forward to put the matter before the voters. Wilson says she doesn’t know if that will help. The proposed initiative calls for a board to provide local input on coastal management plans, and gives that board a say on plans that address coastal uses that might raise concerns based on science or local knowledge.

The initiative, designated 11ACMP, has not been approved for the ballot yet, but the 16-page printed copy is available HERE.

While KCAW did not interview the three-term Rep. Johansen, he was interviewed on KRBD earlier. He feels that he has not finished what he set out to do. He's interested on continuing to build out the Southeast Intertie, as well as the further expansion of Alaska Ship & Drydock. He also wants to focus on additional transportation projects for the area. The Love Caucus flap was not discussed.

Comparison between Wilson and Johansen: The most recent example was provided by the Alaska Business Report Card, which graded Johansen a B+ and Wilson a B. This means that both lawmakers are business-friendly and have a track record of trying to grow their districts' economy and attract jobs, within reason. VoteSmart has pages on Johansen and Wilson which show their voting records and special interest ratings.

By the way, there are three other candidates for this seat so far. Ketchikan Visitors Bureau Director Patty Mackey and David Scott have filed as Republicans, while Ketchikan City Council Member Matt Olsen will run as a Democrat. Scott is already in trouble with APOC because he started campaigning without registering; he faces a $2,357 fine for sending out emails announcing his election plans without filing the proper paperwork with the state.

If Ketchikan voters are still serious about wanting to retire Kyle Johansen over the Love Caucus flap, Peggy Wilson would be a more than adequate replacement. She's more experienced and less controversial.

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