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Judicial council interviewing candidates for Kenai Superior Court next week

The Alaska Judicial Council is interviewing candidates next week to fill a vacancy on the Kenai Superior Court.
Sabine Poux
The Alaska Judicial Council is interviewing candidates next week to fill a vacancy on the Kenai Superior Court.

The council tasked with nominating judges to the bench is interviewing nine applicants for the Kenai Superior Court seat next week, to fill the vacancy left by a retiring judge.

Superior Court judges have the broadest jurisdiction of any judge on the bench. The courthouse in Kenai has three.

One of those judges, Jennifer Wells, announced her retirement last fall. She’s been a judge for the court since 2017 and worked in the Alaska Court System for more than two decades before that. Her term on the bench was up in 2026.

The seven-member Alaska Judicial Council solicited applications for the seat in October. It received 11, though two have since withdrawn. Four of the remaining applicants are attorneys based in Kenai — including Lacey Jane Brewster, Katherine Ann Elsner, Elizabeth Leduc and Nicholas Torres.

The council is meeting in Kenai on Monday and Tuesday to interview applicants. There’s a chance for members of the public to weigh in on the applicants at a public hearing Monday at noon, in courtroom 7 at the Kenai Courthouse. The hearing can also be attended by phone.

After the hearing, each candidate will get interviewed by the council, followed by a discussion in executive session. Those interviews and hearings are part of a nomination process that also includes background checks and a survey, according to an October press release from the council.

At the end of its meeting, the council will make a public vote and recommend two or more candidates to Gov. Mike Dunleavy, who will have 45 days to make a final appointment.

You can read more about the applicants here. You can find a schedule for next week’s judicial council meeting and information about calling in remotely here.

Sabine Poux is a producer and reporter for the Brave Little State podcast of Vermont Public. She was formerly news director and evening news host at KDLL in Kenai.

Originally from New York, Sabine has lived and reported in Argentina and Vermont and Kenai.