• Incumbent Lewis, Arnold and Arno file for two council seats
By Naomi Klouda
Incumbent Mayor Beth Wythe filed with the clerk’s office Friday in a bid to keep her seat, so far challenged by one contender, Donald P. Stead.
Stead, a longtime Homer resident and businessman, is a Homer Electric Association engineer and vice chairman of the planning commission. After moving to Homer in 2010, he immediately became involved on Homer civic committees, appointed to serve on the Homer Planning Commission. Stead has not served in elected office, but was one of three candidates nominated for a Homer City Council seat when one came open in 2011.
The filing period for mayor and two Homer City Council seats opened Friday. It closes Aug. 15. Challengers for each of the city seats have another nine days to file.
Mayor Beth Wythe began her political career 10 years ago, when she was elected to the Homer City Council. She was elected mayor in October, 2012, and is currently employed at Homer Electric Association as the personnel and administrative services supervisor.
The 40-year Alaska resident moved to Homer when she was 13 and graduated from Homer High School. Wythe is completing a master’s degree in public policy, and has served as the city’s mayor pro tem since 2009. She currently serves on the City’s Public Safety Building committee.
Incumbent Councilmember David Lewis is casting a bid to keep his seat in what will be his sixth year on the council if he wins. He was elected to office Oct. 7, 2008 and reelected Oct. 4, 2011. Lewis arrived in Alaska in 1976, spent 12 years in Bush Alaska teaching school, and moved to Homer in 1989. He taught for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District for nine years and retired in 1998. Currently he works for the Kachemak Bay Campus as the Coordinator for the Youth Job Training Program.
Thirty-three-year-old Corbin Arno is a lifelong Homer resident. He is employed as a manager of his family’s business, Arno Construction. Arno is making his second bid for a council seat, after losing in 2013 to incumbent Councilman Bryan Zak. He said he decided to run for office to stem the tide of increased city regulations, which he said are hurting local businesses.
Arno is a member of the grassroots group “Homer Voice for Business,” which was formed to speak out for what the group considers the heavy-handed encroachment of city regulations on private enterprise. This will be Arno’s first foray into politics, nudged there, he said, by a concern for the fiscal crisis in the country.
Justin Arnold, also born and raised in Homer, is a commercial fisherman and construction business owner by trade “and a researcher at heart.” He spearheaded an effort that led to a ballot initiative on whether to rescind the ban on plastic grocery bags. This won on the ballot in the Oct. 7, 2013 election, which successfully overturned the plastic bag ban.
He made a bid for city council in 2013, losing to incumbent Bryan Zak. He too is a member of the Homer Voices for Business.
The city candidates will be voted on in the regular Kenai Peninsula Borough election Oct. 7.
The Borough-wide ballot also will ask voters to decide on borough mayor, three Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly seats, three school board positions and service area elections.
So far, one candidate has filed to run for borough mayor, Tom Bearup, a Soldotna preacher and businessman. In Assembly District 8, Homer, no one has yet filed.
The borough ballot also will ask voters to decide several propositions, among them voting by mail. For more information as it is posted, go to www.cityofhomer-ak.gov or www.borough.kenai.ak.us
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