Ruffner files to run against Seaton for House seat

A Board of Fisheries member is planning to challenge Rep. Paul Seaton (R-Homer) for his seat in the Alaska Legislature.

Robert Ruffner of Kasilof filed a letter of intent with the Alaska Public Offices Commission with the intention of running for the District 31 seat in the House of Representatives. He said he intends to run as a Republican and to focus on the budget issues still facing the state.

Though he enjoys working on the Board of Fisheries, he said he was considering what the future would look like as the board is constantly enveloped in controversy and no one is guaranteed to serve on it long-term. In addition to fisheries management, Ruffner is also an active member of the Kenai Peninsula Borough’s Planning Commission and Road Service Area board as well as chairing the borough’s ongoing Material Site Working Group addressing the conflicts between gravel pits and nearby residents.

“I think that experience that I have of sitting on the planning commission and the road board (doesn’t) get any more local government than that,” he said. “And at the fish board level, you’re looking at the whole state. I’ve been fortunate to have that position to meet a lot of the mayors and community leaders across the whole state.”

Watching the inaction on the budget for the past several years has been frustrating, especially as the Legislature has not been working on cutting expenses this year as they have in the past several, he said. The House of Representatives bipartisan coalition, in which Seaton holds a leadership position, was an interesting idea to start but has failed to deliver any solutions, Ruffner said.

“I see these issues that we’re facing right now as needing some dedicated attention,” he said. “We really are at a crucial point in the state’s history … those are some big, sweeping fundamental issues that we need to address. We just don’t have any more time.”

One other candidate, John Cox of Anchor Point, has also filed to run as a Republican for the same seat. Seaton, who has served in the Legislature since 2002, filed his letter of intent to run for reelection with the Alaska Public Offices Commission in July 2017. Seaton defeated two contenders in the 2016 primary, including Cox, earning a shoo-in in the general because no candidates ran in the opposing parties.

Reach Elizabeth Earl at eearl@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

Tony Izzo, CEO of Matansuka Electric Association, stands with other utility executives on May 25 to describe a $200 million project to upgrade transmission lines along Alaska’s Railbelt. The announcement was made at the Alaska Sustainable Energy Conference in Anchorage. Curtis Thayer, executive director of the Alaska Energy Authority, is at the far left; Gov. Mike Dunleavy is at the far right. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
Utilities in Alaska’s Railbelt announce $200M transmission upgrade project

The upgrade will move more energy from the Bradley Lake Hydroelectric Plant on the Kenai Peninsula

Silver salmon swim in Sucker Creek on Sept. 18, 2020. (Photo by Matt Bowser/Kenai National Wildlife Refuge)
Project to study effect of climate change on salmon streams

The organization will partner with the United States Geological Survey

Wood is piled near the entrance to Centennial Park on Thursday, May 26, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. The campground was closed for most of May while the city worked with contractors to remove trees infested with spruce bark beetles from the property. Southcentral Alaska’s current spruce beetle outbreak has already affected 1.6 million acres of land, including 21,000 acres managed by the Kenai Peninsula Borough. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna beetle-kill efforts boosted by $150K grant

The city has focused recent mitigation efforts on city campgrounds

A spruce bark beetle is seen on the underside of a piece of bark taken from logs stacked near Central Peninsula Landfill on Thursday, July 1, 2021, near Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Emergency harvest of beetle-killed spruce trees approved

The move comes amid an infestation that has spread across Southcentral Alaska

This May 4, 2022, photo shows oceanographers Andrew McDonnell, left, and Claudine Hauri, middle, along with engineer Joran Kemme after an underwater glider was pulled aboard the University of Alaska Fairbanks research vessel Nanuq from the Gulf of Alaska. The glider was fitted with special sensors to study ocean acidification. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)
An ocean first: Underwater drone tracks CO2 in Alaska gulf

The autonomous vehicle was deployed in the Gulf of Alaska

The Caribou Fire (#135) can be seen burning about 23 miles northeast of Homer and about 2 miles west of Fox River on May 25, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Fenya Basargin)
Officials warn of wildfire danger ahead of Memorial weekend

Firefighters responded to the Caribou Fire 23 miles northeast of Homer this week

Having made its maiden voyage to Homer in 2003, the USCGC Hickory left Homer on Friday, May 20, 2022, on its way to Baltimore, Maryland, where it will be refurbished before heading to Guam. In December, the USCGC Aspen will arrive in Homer to take the Hickory’s place. (Photo by McKibben Jackinsky)
Hickory changes command — and leaves Homer

After 20 years in Homer, Hickory sails off to new assignment in Guam, with Aspen to replace cutter here

A cruise ship is docked in Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, May 25, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Cruise passengers encouraged to test before docking in Seward

The request comes as new COVID cases are increasing in Alaska

Most Read