Newly elected members of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly took their oath of office during the assembly’s Tuesday night meeting, where the results of the Oct. 5 municipal election were also certified. Kenai Peninsula Borough Clerk Johni Blankenship administered oaths of office to Cindy Ecklund, Brent Hibbert and Mike Tupper.
Ecklund replaces Kenn Carpenter in the assembly’s east peninsula seat. Tupper replaces Willy Dunne, who was term-limited out of running for reelection to the assembly’s south peninsula seat. Hibbert ran unopposed for reelection to the assembly’s Kalifornsky seat.
Carpenter used his final council comments to advocate for a new track at Seward high school. The school’s current running track is made of asphalt, which Carpenter said isn’t appropriate for the “running town” of Seward.
“If our students can’t compete in track and have track meets in Seward, what’s it for?” Carpenter said. “I mean, we’re for the students and we’ve got to push this track. We need a new track system.”
Carpenter has served on the assembly since 2017 and has also served as chair of the assembly’s lands committee. He works at AVTEC in Seward.
Willy Dunne, who represents the south peninsula, used his final comments to thank constituents for electing him to serve on the assembly.
“It’s been an honor to serve our communities and to try and do a little bit to help wherever I could,” Dunne said. “Sometimes it’s been tedious. Sometimes it’s been frustrating. People often ask me what it’s like and I, in the short version, I often say that it’s simultaneously frustrating and rewarding. It’s a difficult job but I am honored to have been selected to do it.”
Dunne was elected to serve on the South Peninsula Hospital Service Area Board and said he is about to start a new job with the Cook Inlet Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse.
Assembly member Lane Chesley, who represents Homer, read a letter from Alex Koplin, also of Homer, commending Dunne’s contributions to the assembly.
“Mr. Dunne represented all of his constituents, not just the ones who voted for him,” Chesley read. “The voices of all the people were heard while he was in the assembly for his six years of service.”
Assembly Vice President Brent Johnson pointed out that with the addition of Ecklund to the assembly, the body will no longer be entirely male. The 2020 election produced the first all-male assembly in at least 28 years, according to previous Clarion reporting.
“I appreciate Cindy,” Johnson said Tuesday. “We’re going to need her.”
Tuesday’s full meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly can be viewed on the borough’s website at kpb.us.
Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at firstname.lastname@example.org.