James Duffield is running for one of two vacancies on the Kenai City Council. He works as an accountant and has lived in Alaska since 2002. He holds a Bachelor of Science from West Virginia University and currently serves on the Homer Electric Association Board of Directors.
Duffield said he was inspired to run for city council when he saw that, as the candidate filing deadline neared, only a couple of people had filed to run for the vacancies. He added that negative politics at the federal level and issues going on at the borough level also contributed to his decision.
“I have not put as much focus on what goes on locally as much as what I look at nationally and realized I better do that,” Duffield said.
When he saw the other candidates who filed to run, Duffield said he was “pretty satisfied,” because he sees them as all having conservative values and a similar way of thinking and will put the community’s best interests first. If someone was running whose ideas he disagreed with he said, he would be more concerned about campaigning.
“I’m not going to put my name out here and spend a lot of money or a lot of campaigning when I know the other folks; I don’t want to beat anybody up over this,” Duffield said. “If there was someone I was really concerned about, then yes, I would be beating the street pretty hard to try to make sure that I got a seat.”
Some of the issues Duffield said are important to him are the development of Kenai’s business community and recreational opportunities, as well as waterfront revitalization. For example, Duffield said he’d like to see the introduction of a biking trail along Bridge Access Road and more done with the Kenai Golf Course.
He added that while he thinks the city did a “good job” distributing federal CARES Act COVID-19 relief funds, he would have liked to see larger sums of money available to Kenai businesses. He especially lauded the city’s shop local program, launched earlier this year, but he said more money could have been put toward the program and more businesses should have participated.
“I thought they could have done more with it and probably increased the amount of money available to people, and probably, at that point in time, encouraged more people to come safe from other places like Anchorage, and all because it was near the tourist season time,” Duffield said.
Duffield said he thinks he’d bring a variety of perspectives to the city council, if elected, including his background in finance and auditing. He also has kids in the local school districts and said he’s able to interact with a lot of people in the community through his work.
“I get to talk to a lot of people about a lot of things going on,” Duffield said. “So I get to hear a lot from people about how they feel the government in the community is taking care of business.”
Ultimately, Duffield said he thinks voters have good candidates to choose from and that he thinks the city will be in a good place regardless of who wins.
“I don’t think the community is going to lose, no matter who they vote in,” Duffield said. “I just appreciate the opportunity to be able to participate in the election.”
The municipal election is on Oct. 5.
Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at firstname.lastname@example.org.