Election Shows Politics Trending Conservative, Winners Say

     More than a week after the 2013 municipal election, voters in Homer finally have official election results. A vote recount Tuesday confirmed that Bryan Zak and Gus Van Dyke were the two top vote-getters in a four-way race for the city council.

     Even though the recount showed him with a very narrow 10-vote lead over Corbin Arno, incumbent Homer City Council member Bryan Zak says he was never too concerned about the outcome of the election.

     "I felt confident that what I ... stood for was a clear message," said Zak.

     Gus Van Dyke was the top vote-getter in the race. Van Dyke is the owner of Scrugg’s Automotive in Homer. He has never run for political office before. He says he didn’t do a whole lot of campaigning. He put out a few yard signs and talked to people about the election. He says the top issues on people’s minds seemed to be business-related, like the city’s water and sewer rates and a sign ordinance that many business owners see as over-reaching.

     Van Dyke says that outside of a few business dealings, he has never worked with any of the sitting council members before.

     "As far as being able to work with any of them ... everyone gets a fair shake," said Van Dyke.

     Van Dyke says that the political make-up of the four candidates on this year’s ballot – and the passage of a repeal of Homer’s ban on plastic shopping bags – shows that the town may be leaning more conservative than it used to be.

     "I think all four of us (candidates) that were there are more conservative than the balance of the council," he said. "I think that's an indication that Homer itself is leaning that way."

     Van Dyke says he anticipates a “hard road” in trying to express a more conservative viewpoint with his fellow council members but he’s ready for that challenge.

     Zak agrees with the sentiment that Homer politics is trending more conservative although he sees himself as more of a moderate who’s interested in sound fiscal policy.

     He says his time on the council has often been “difficult.”

     "I definitely don't go into a council meeting with my mind already made up and when it comes to ... a multitude of issues that have been before the council, often I'll be the lone council member speaking in pursuit of a different outcome," said Zak.

     Zak says that it sometimes seems like his fellow council members already have their minds made up on an issue before the council meetings and that opposing viewpoints are often not given the consideration they deserve.

     Gus Van Dyke and Bryan Zak will be official winners when the Homer City Council certifies the election results. That is expected to happen at Monday night’s council meeting.