Clam Gulch resident Holly Odd is running for the District 7 seat on the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly. District 7 represents an area stretching from just north of Kasilof all the way south of Happy Valley and Nikolaevsk. The seat is currently held by Paul Fischer. According to Odd’s candidate file, she’s been a resident of Alaska for 44 years and is a retired flight attendant.
What qualifies you to serve on the assembly?
I’ve been a flight attendant for almost 40 years, and am recently retired. I have communicated with people all over the world. I have communication skills that are very good and I think dealing with people and solving problems in general life, not in politics, is a very important factor — especially in the assembly where you’ll be meeting several different personalities and making decisions.
Why are you pursuing a seat and what goals do you have?
The people in District 7, and on the peninsula, are very passionate about how their area is run, and they’re very involved. I’ve done a lot of discussing and talking to a lot of people, and most of them feel like they have not been represented. I want to represent them and I want to be their voice. I think balancing the budget is a very big thing. We need to look at the waste. I’d like to keep taxes down and I want to make sure teachers have everything they need to do their job. It’s probably the most important job — taking care of our kids. I would like to see if I can get a group together that represents seniors and people with disabilities, to make sure their needs are being met. They are a very important part of my campaign. I’m definitely an advocate. My father was a vet who was in three wars. I have a family member who is disabled. I’m a senior myself, but when my mother was a senior, the community took care of her so well when she needed it. I want to make sure no benefits are taken from them.
Would you support new taxes or look for cuts to balance the budget?
I would not support new taxes. I believe if we cut the waste that’s going on and really look at every penny being spent. I think that would be the best way. Getting more revenue into the peninsula would be an alternative.
How can the borough encourage higher voter turnout?
I think we need to look at the voting system we have now. From what I understand, it’s outdated. I don’t think mail-in voting is a necessarily good idea, because there’s a lot of opportunity for problems with that. Transportation is a problem. I think if we did a little bit of research on that and got transportation to bring people to the polls that would be easier for some people who don’t have vehicles and can’t go by themselves.
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 encourage bringing it to a vote to the people. If that’s not possible, I would recommend keeping the invocation and having a moment of silence. I’ve talked to a lot of people about this. It is a large issue here and people feel very strongly about it.
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?
I don’t think negotiations and the issues going on now is good, because it makes people wonder if teachers want to continue doing this. There must be some type of an incentive to give them — whether it be a pay increase or benefit increase or something. I don’t think adding to their cost of health care is effective.