Kenai Peninsula Borough Clerk Johni Blankenship collects a ballot from assembly member Brent Hibbert on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. The assembly elected a new president and vice president during a meeting on Tuesday. (Photo by Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Peninsula Borough Clerk Johni Blankenship collects a ballot from assembly member Brent Hibbert on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. The assembly elected a new president and vice president during a meeting on Tuesday. (Photo by Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Johnson elected assembly president; Hibbert to be vice president

Prior to Tuesday, Johnson, who represents Kasilof, served as the assembly’s vice president.

Brent Johnson is the new president of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly following an election held by assembly members during the body’s Tuesday night meeting.

Tyson Cox, who represents Soldotna, nominated Johnson for the position. Prior to Tuesday, Johnson, who represents Kasilof, served as the assembly’s vice president.

Prior to his election, Johnson said he believed his experience serving on boards and commissions would make him a good candidate for the position and that, if elected, he’d work with assembly members to determine whom to appoint as chair for assembly committees. He added that he initially considered a seat on the assembly as a stepping stone to running for the Alaska Legislature, but that he likes that the assembly is a nonpartisan body.

“I’ve decided that my life ambition was right here on the assembly and I’m just happy to do that,” Johnson said.

Bill Elam, who represents Sterling and Funny River, nominated Brent Hibbert for the position of assembly president. Hibbert, who represents Kalifornsky, had already been serving as assembly president until Tuesday.

“This last year was a rough year, especially to go in and be the president,” Elam said of Hibbert. “I feel like he did a good job. There’s a lot of tough conversations that we had and I’d like to see you carry on with that.”

Hibbert said that he has enjoyed serving as assembly president but that he also thinks Johnson will do a good job.

“I don’t have the experience that you have Mr. Johnson, but I try hard, “ Hibbert said. “Thanks for the compliments and I’m sure that Mr. Johnson, if he’s elected as president, he will do a bang-up job.”

The assembly voted by secret ballots, with votes counted by Kenai Peninsula Borough Clerk Johni Blankenship. The assembly elected Johnson to be assembly president by a vote of 5-4.

For the position of assembly vice president, Elam and Hibbert were both nominated. Elam said that he was “honored” to be nominated.

“I would definitely do the duties to the best of my capabilities (and) I do appreciate being here,” Elam said. “I appreciate all the guys and the newly elected lady on the team here. I’d be honored to serve as your vice president.”

The assembly elected Hibbert to be vice president by a vote of 6-3.

Hibbert and Johnson took their new seats during Tuesday night’s meeting, which can be viewed on the borough’s website.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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