Jason Davis, owner of Sweetgale Meadworks and Cider House, was appointed to fill the interim seat on the Homer City Council during the council’s special meeting on Monday. His appointment will last until the Oct. 5 election when a successor will be elected to complete the remaining year left in former council member Joey Evensen’s term since he resigned in July.
Davis was sworn in during the special meeting and participated in the committee of the whole and regular meeting later that evening.
Davis has also filed for candidacy for the one-year term and will run against council member Heath Smith, whose seat on the council is up for reelection. Smith chose to file for the one-year seat instead of reelection for his three-year seat.
Davis said while he has been interested in serving on city council for some time, he was hesitant to commit to a three-year term. When the opportunity to serve for six weeks to a year arose, he decided to try it out.
“When I heard the council was going to be appointing someone to fill the vacancy that came up when council member Evensen resigned a year before the end of his term, I thought it sounded like it would be a really good opportunity to find out whether serving on the council might be a good fit for me without having to commit to an entire three-year term,” Davis said during his introduction at the meeting.
Current council members Rachel Lord, Caroline Venuti, Donna Aderhold and Storm Hansen-Cavasos and mayor Ken Castner were able to interview Davis, as well as Francie Roberts — another applicant for the interim seat who is not running for election in the upcoming city council election — during the special meeting before nominating Davis to fill the position.
Council member Smith recused himself from the interviews since he is running against Davis in the upcoming Oct. 5 elections.
Even with Smith’s departure from the nomination and appointment process, the candidates still needed four affirmative votes from the four remaining council members to be appointed to the interim seat.
Davis and Roberts were asked questions such as what challenges do they expect the council to face in the next year, what they enjoy about Homer and in turn, what frustrates them about Homer, as well as if they were prepared that night to serve on council. Concerns for COVID-19 mitigation plans, encouraging small businesses and increasing walkability in Homer were among Davis’s answers. Davis stated his goals for serving on the council are to help make Homer more small-business and pedestrian friendly and to work to the betterment of the city.
After being appointed, he said in a phone interview on Tuesday that his first meeting went well and he learned a lot.
“There were some interesting topics with smart people putting their heads together to solve real problems, and it was exciting,” Davis said.
Davis was raised on the Kenai Peninsula in Kasilof and Soldotna and moved to Homer four years ago. He also served on the Planning Commission for one year. He served in embassies for 30 years, including a 24-year stint as a U.S. Foreign Service Officer, and said he will use the knowledge he learned from those experiences to help him effectively work on council. After moving to Homer, he opened Sweetgale Meadworks and Cider House in 2020.
For more information, visit www.cityofhomer-ak.gov/cityclerk/jason-davis.
Reach Sarah Knapp at email@example.com.