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City Council Candidate Profile: Kimberly Ketter

Photo Courtesy of Kimberly Ketter

Kimberly Ketter is new to Homer. She moved here in 2015 from her hometown of Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania, about 20 minutes north of Pittsburgh. She’s one of three candidates running for two seats on the Homer City Council. Incumbent Gus VanDyke and Bryan Zak are not running again, though Zak is running for mayor. 

Ketter moved to Homer to live with a family friend on West Hill Road to make a new start after struggles with addiction and a painful custody battle over her son, who remains Pennsylvania. 

It wasn’t long before she found herself tuning in to KBBI Public Radio to listen to city council meetings, and eventually testifying in person before the council on several issues. She says politics has been a lifelong interest.

"Even though I’m a registered Democrat, I look at each issue from different angles and different shoes, perspectives. I like to help people,” Ketter said.

When she lived in Pennsylvania, in 2012, Ketter says she became involved with the Democratic Party. She worked on a board, but gave up the seat to address personal issues.

Ketter was born in Pittsburgh and grew up in nearby Cranberry Township. After graduating high school, Ketter spent a year in college, then joined the Navy and was stationed in San Diego, California. She was discharged from the Navy after being convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol in 2004. That’s when Ketter moved back to Pennsylvania, where she worked in a post office, as a banquet server and in social media marketing.

Now Ketter works off and on, doing seafood processing at The Auction Block on the Homer Spit, as well as doing social media marketing for a company back in Pennsylvania.

She says one of the most important issues the Homer City Council needs to address is economic development. She supports attracting new, sustainable industries that provide year-round jobs in Homer, and creating incentives for businesses to hire local people.

“I’d like to see people maybe hiring more people that are local because there are plenty of us that are looking for jobs, even if it is seasonal, and then we stay and that money would go back into our economy. Also, we need to find a way to bring long-term employment opportunities, year-round employment opportunities, to the area,” Ketter said.

In addition, Ketter supports expanding the port, further development of South Peninsula Hospital and expansion of the new marijuana industry to the Spit as economic drivers for the area. She does not support the proposed bond to build a new public safety building.

Ketter says she would do all she could as a council member to advocate for education funding.

She supports city incentives for builders to construct more affordable housing.

Ketter says she supports the sustainable development of natural resources, but is against fracking. She says that the city of Homer needs to do something to address substance abuse and says it is critical that the town get a rehabilitation center and halfway house so that local people struggling with addiction can receive support in their own community.

Ketter, having known the challenges of substance abuse herself, says this would be a key issue for her if elected to the city council. She says she was struggling with alcohol until very recently. She has two DUIs in Pennsylvania and a third in Homer. When she filed to run for public office at Homer City Hall she was arrested on a warrant related to her third DUI.

“I knew I had a warrant. Somebody called me in for not being around my third party. I was on bail. But it was important for me to get filed for this. That’s how important it was. I could feel it in my stomach. You know, I knew I was going to get arrested and, plus, like I said, I had put it out publically. And then I even took a plea agreement so I would only have 12 days to finish and then I could come home and actually have a shot at getting in the seat,” Ketter said.

Now Ketter says she is in recovery. She says she is doing online Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and that spirituality is playing a part in her recovery — she says a meditation practice is helping her stay sober. In addition, she is looking into a treatment program, a requirement of her plea agreement on the DUI.

Ketter says voters should choose her because, since she’s relatively new to the community, she does not serve any special interests in the area.

“I’m only doing this because I care about Homer and the people of Homer and the community as a whole. I see a lot of changes that could be made. I don’t strictly vote conservative or strictly vote real liberal. I look at the issue and weigh out the risks and the possible benefits and then make a decision,” Ketter said.

Ketter says she would approach her role on the council as someone who is looking out for the average Homer resident, and who would stand up for vulnerable people in the community.

“I definitely believe we never affect our vulnerable populations,” Ketter said.

Local News Homer City Council2016Kimberly KetterCandiate
Daysha Eaton holds a B.A. from Evergreen State College, and a M.A. from the University of Southern California. Daysha got her start in radio at Seattle public radio stations, KPLU and KUOW. Before coming to KBBI, she was the News Director at KYUK in Bethel. She has also worked as the Southcentral Reporter for KSKA in Anchorage.