With election day around the corner, Soldotna’s Willow King has launched a write-in campaign for Senate District O.
Incumbent Senator Peter Micciche’s name will be on the ballot unopposed, but after a tight Republic primary race in August, his challenger Ron Gillham launched a write-in campaign. King, who had almost applied for the primary, has now followed suit in hopes of becoming a state senator.
“When Ron and Peter split the vote pretty well, I decided it might be the right time,” King said. “I, and many people I talk to, don’t feel adequately represented.”
Besides a small portion of her childhood spent living in Hawaii, King has lived on the central peninsula. She would spend the summers fishing with her father, a commercial fisherman.
King said that Ballot Measure 1, which asks votes to approve updates to Alaska’s habitat laws for fish, is particularly important to her.
“I feel strongly about protecting the environment and our representatives are pretty strongly development based,” King said. “I’d like to see responsible development and the idea of diversification of Alaska’s economy. Lawmakers of old knew petroleum was a finite resource, but that seems to have been lost.”
She doesn’t want to lean on the environmental issue, though.
“I think it’s important to get back to the idea of Alaskans being able to take care of themselves and each other through all the issues that tie into that, from SB 91, Ballot Measure 1 to health insurance,” King said. “I want to see us prepared for the future because it seems uncertain at times.”
On the topic of Senate Bill 91 — the contentious criminal justice reform bill — King believes the bill is well intentioned.
“I wouldn’t like to repeal SB 91,” she said. “…There are some really good issues around that helping our society. I know people feel strongly on both ends. I know people who have just, pardon the pun, got locked into the justice system and have had a really hard time getting out with just minor offenses. I think that getting people who are not a threat to the community, back into the community to be productive will help us cut costs to social services.”
As for health insurance, King’s personal medical history has helped shape her view on the subject. After breaking her ankle this summer, even with good health insurance coverage, King said she found herself owing several thousand dollars.
“I think everyone should be able to get health insurance,” she said. “I don’t want medical bills to cripple families any more than incarceration can cripple families. If I can end up with $10,000 in debt on a good insurance plan, imagine where someone who doesn’t have insurance ends up.”
King isn’t looking to split this year’s votes, though. She’s excited to give people another option and to enable community engagement.
“I’d like to see more people on more ballots,” King said. “I figured the best way to do that is to put my name out there.”
Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 6.
Reach Kat Sorensen at firstname.lastname@example.org.