Soldotna City Council members thank outgoing council member Justin Ruffridge for his years of service to the city during a council meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. Ruffridge was elected last month to the Alaska Legislature. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna City Council members thank outgoing council member Justin Ruffridge for his years of service to the city during a council meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. Ruffridge was elected last month to the Alaska Legislature. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna salutes Ruffridge at his final council meeting

Ruffridge was elected to the Alaska House of Representatives last month

Soldotna City Council members on Wednesday expressed their appreciation and best wishes for outgoing council member Justin Ruffridge, who was elected to the Alaska House of Representatives last month.

Wednesday’s meeting, during which council members voted to accept his letter of resignation, was Ruffridge’s last as a council member since joining the council in 2018. In an upset, he clinched more votes in his bid for a seat in the Alaska House than incumbent Ron Gillham, a fellow Republican.

Soldotna Mayor Paul Whitney read during the council meeting a commending resolution sponsored by council members for Ruffridge. The legislation, among other things, cited Ruffridge’s work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to help provide residents with vaccines and his past work on the Planning and Zoning Commission and with the Kenai Performers.

“The Soldotna City Council commends Mr. Ruffridge on helping to shape our community and congratulates him on his election to the House of Representatives,” the resolution passed by council members says.

Soldotna Vice Mayor Lisa Parker thanked Ruffridge for his work on the council and said she’s looking forward to working with him while he’s in Juneau.

“It’s been a pleasure, council member Ruffridge — Representative-elect Ruffridge — to serve with you on the city council and I look forward to working with you in the years ahead as you represent not only our community, but the State of Alaska,” Parker said. “Thank you for your dedication and commitment.”

Council member Dave Carey joked that he told Ruffridge not to go to Juneau.

“​​I told him not to do it, but it’s only because the people down in Juneau are going to get his great wisdom and diligence and we’re going to lose it to some extent,” Carey said.

Ruffridge thanked council members for their support during his closing comments at Wednesday’s meeting.

“I feel like we are an example of support and kindness and civil discourse and I really appreciate the kindness that you guys have shown to me this evening and throughout the last few years,” Ruffridge said. “I have felt this has been an excellent experience and a good education in how the public process works.”

In addition to accepting Ruffridge’s resignation, council members also declared his seat on the council vacant. That declaration will allow the Soldotna City Clerk to begin advertising for the vacancy, which will be filled by a council appointment. Council members have until Jan. 11 to appoint a qualified person to fill the vacancy, according to a memo from City Clerk Johni Blankenship.

Per that memo, notices of the vacancy will be posted and published on Friday and Saturday. Applications will be accepted from Dec. 19 at 8 a.m. through Jan. 3 at 2 p.m. Per Soldotna Municipal Code, those interested in serving on the council must have been a resident of Soldotna for at least one year, be a citizen of the United States and be a qualified voter of the city.

Wednesday’s city council meeting can be streamed on the city’s website at

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at

More in News

The waters of Cook Inlet lap against Nikishka Beach in Nikiski, Alaska, where several local fish sites are located, on Friday, March 24, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Unprecedented closures threaten setnet way of life

Setnetters have been vocal about their opposition to the way their fishery is managed

Legislative fiscal analysts Alexei Painter, right, and Conor Bell explain the state’s financial outlook during the next decade to the Senate Finance Committee on Friday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Legislators eye oil and sales taxes due to fiscal woes

Bills to collect more from North Slope producers, enact new sales taxes get hearings next week.

Expert skateboarder Di’Orr Greenwood, an artist born and raised in the Navajo Nation in Arizona and whose work is featured on the new U.S. stamps, rides her skateboard next to her artworks in the Venice Beach neighborhood in Los Angeles Monday, March 20, 2023. On Friday, March 24, the U.S. Postal Service is debuting the “Art of the Skateboard,” four stamps that will be the first to pay tribute to skateboarding. The stamps underscore how prevalent skateboarding has become, especially in Indian Country, where the demand for designated skate spots has only grown in recent years. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Indigenous artists help skateboarding earn stamp of approval

The postal agency ceremoniously unveiled the “Art of the Skateboard” stamps in a Phoenix skate park

Bruce Jaffa, of Jaffa Construction, speaks to a group of students at Seward High School’s Career Day on Thursday, March 23, 2023, at Seward High School in Seward, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Seward students talk careers at fair

More than 50 businesses were represented

Alaska state Sen. Bert Stedman, center, a co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee, listens to a presentation on the major North Slope oil project known as the Willow project on Thursday, March 23, 2023, in Juneau, Alaska. The committee heard an update on the project from the state Department of Natural Resources and the state Department of Revenue. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer)
Official: Willow oil project holds promise, faces obstacles

State tax officials on Thursday provided lawmakers an analysis of potential revenue impacts and benefits from the project

Jerry Burnett, chair of the Board of Game, speaks during their Southcentral meeting on Friday, March 17, 2023, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Board of Game decides on local proposals

Trapping setbacks, archery hunts and duck restrictions were up for consideration

Audre Hickey testifies in opposition to an ordinance that would implement a citywide lewdness prohibition in Soldotna during a city council meeting on Wednesday, March 22, 2023, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna council kills citywide lewdness ordinance

The decision followed lengthy public comment

Samantha Springer, left, and Michelle Walker stand in the lobby of the Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center on Wednesday, March 22, 2023, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Springer named new head of Kenai chamber

Springer, who was raised in Anchorage, said she’s lived on the Kenai Peninsula since 2021

Forever Dance performers rehearse “Storytellers” on Wednesday, March 22, 2023, at the Renee C. Henderson Auditorium in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Storytellers’ weave tales with their feet

Dance and literature intersect in latest Forever Dance showcase

Most Read