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Sterling Assembly Member Elam joins Alaska House race

Bill Elam at a January, 2024 Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting.
Riley Board
Bill Elam at a January, 2024 Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting.

A new candidate has thrown his hat in the ring for the Alaska State House district that covers Sterling, Nikiski and Cooper Landing.

Current Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly Member Bill Elam has filed his intention to run for Alaska State House District 8, the seat currently held by Rep. Ben Carpenter. In November, Carpenter filed to run for the State Senate in District D, leaving his house seat open

“I know the issues, I know the things that are important here on the peninsula and I just really like serving,” Elam said.

He is currently serving his second term on the assembly in the Sterling seat. Elam chairs the assembly’s legislative committee, and previously chaired the lands committee. He has also been a part of the assembly’s legislative delegation, a liaison to the school board and a liaison to Central Emergency Services.

“I thought I knew a lot about the community before I was on the assembly, and what I learned is that I don’t know nearly enough about what all we have, and the complexities of everything here on the Kenai Peninsula,” Elam said. “And just Alaska in general — there’s a lot of things that happen in Juneau that ripple across the state.”

Elam manages IT operations for Central Peninsula Hospital and has lived in the area for about a decade. He said his knowledge about the issues facing the area — including budget gaps and infrastructure needs — makes him a good choice.

Elam said his priority if elected would be to cut through bickering in the legislature and advocate for the peninsula’s interests.

“Let’s work on some stuff that we do agree on, and make sure we show the Kenai Peninsula in a good light, and show the state who we are and why we’re such a great place to live and the great things we’ve got here,” he said.

Ridgeway resident John Hillyer also filed for the District 8 seat in November. The primary election for the 2024 state house race is on August 20.

Riley Board is a Report For America participant and senior reporter at KDLL covering rural communities on the central Kenai Peninsula.