Soldotna resident Rose Henry is running for the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly’s District 4 seat. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna resident Rose Henry is running for the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly’s District 4 seat. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

District 4 candidate — Rose Henry

The Clarion interviews assembly candidates ahead of Election Day.

Soldotna resident Rose Henry is running for the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly’s District 4 seat, which encompasses the Soldotna area. The seat is currently held by Dale Bagley. According to her candidate file, Henry has lived in Alaska for 17 years and works in Soldotna as a pharmacist. She has a Bachelor of Science in pharmacy from St. Louis College of Pharmacy, her file said.

What qualifies you to serve on the assembly?

I’ve been a pharmacist for 30 years, managing most of that time. I’ve been used to taking state and federal regulations and applying that to my business. I’m a listener. That’s what a pharmacist does. I figure out solutions for them. I’m a problem solver. I’ve also spent 17 years in the community here and I feel like I have a good handle on issues and problems our borough’s facing.

Why are you pursuing a seat and what goals do you have?

I’ve always been interested in local government, but never had time because I was a full-time mom, wife and career person. My kids are now grown, so now I have the time I feel like I can dedicate. I didn’t want to commit to something if I didn’t have the time to pursue it. I want to pursue collecting sales tax on internet sales. Not only are internet sales using all of our infrastructure to deliver all of their goods, but they’re not paying anything to support those infrastructures. It’s impinging on our local businesses. It’s hard for them to compete against the internet in the first place. I want to try to find a way to lower health care cost for borough residents. We pay a super high rate. Health care costs here are extreme.

Would you support new taxes or look for cuts to balance the budget?

I’m a conservative, so my first leaning is toward cutting costs. It makes the most sense and is the least pain for our residents. I think there are a lot of places where we can make things more efficient and we’re not simply spending money because we’ve always done it that way. I think that’s what a new person coming to the assembly has to offer, to be able to look at things with a fresh eye.

How can the borough encourage higher voter turnout?

Voter apathy is something we face, not just here, but everywhere. I think it lies in educating people and explaining to people — especially here. If you look historically at the votes in the borough, a few votes have made a difference in so many races. A lot of people think ‘my vote doesn’t matter.’ If they realized how close some of these elections are, they would realize, not only that their vote matters, it matters greatly.

The offering of invocations during assembly meetings has become a divisive issue over the last few years, costing taxpayers thousands of dollars. Ordinances have been introduced to rid the practice altogether. Where do you stand on that issue?

I think we should keep the invocation. I have my own beliefs and I can respect those of others. I believe in it. I’m not going to keep anyone away. Everyone has a right to believe how they want.

A record number of teachers retired from the district last year. What can the assembly do, whether through education funding or other ways, to retain teachers in the district?

If we can get health care costs down, not only would that help the teachers greatly and the school district, but also all of our residents.

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