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Mayoral Candidate Profile: David Lewis

Photo Courtesy of City of Homer

David Lewis has served on the Homer City Council for the past eight years. He says he’s running for Homer mayor to give voters a choice. He moved from his home state of New York to Alaska in 1976, where he worked as a teacher in rural Alaska for many years, eventually settling in Homer. He’s one of two candidates running for mayor. His fellow Homer City Council member, Bryan Zak, is also running. Current Homer Mayor Mary E. “Beth” Wythe is not running for re-election. 

David Lewis says he’s running for mayor because he thinks there should be competition.

“At the time when I filed, Bryan was the only person that had filed and I just felt that we needed to have a choice,” said Lewis.

And he says he provides a contrast to the other candidate, Bryan Zak.

“Bryan and I have probably agreed on 50 percent of things that have come up before city council and disagreed on 50 percent, so we are different,” said Lewis.

Lewis was born and raised in Auburn in central New York. After graduating from high school, he attended Auburn Community College. Then he finished his bachelor’s degree at State University of New York at Geneseo, where he majored in education, specializing in special education. He taught one year in his hometown then moved to Alaska.

He arrived in Alaska in 1976, where he spent 12 years teaching in Alaska Native villages along the Bering Sea. 

He met his wife, a fellow teacher, while he was working in the village of White Mountain. They moved to Homer in 1989, where Lewis taught for the Kenai Peninsula School District for nine years.

He taught at many schools in the area, including in Homer and in the Russian Old Believer villages of Voznesenka, Razdolna and Kachemak Selo. He retired in 1998.

In 2004 he went to work at the Kachemak Bay Campus of Kenai Peninsula College where he was the assistant and eventually director of the Youth Job Training Program.

In 2015, he began working for the South Peninsula Behavioral Health Center.

He has been a member of the Homer Hockey Association for more than 17 years and served on the board for 10 years.

He and his wife have two grown sons who live out of state.

One of the most important issues facing Homer City Council, Lewis says, is how to spur economic development. He supports attracting new sustainable industries that provide year-round jobs in Homer.

He says that expanding Homer’s port and harbor would be the best choice.

“That is going to be one of our main economic engines, will be the port and harbor. I would like to see more development with the large vessel haul out, which in turn provides jobs for our marine trades industry,” said Lewis.

Lewis says Homer should prepare for the arctic opening up due to climate change.

“The Coast Guard is bringing in two fast response vessels that I think are too big for most ports around here, so we could harbor those,” said Lewis.

In addition, Lewis says that the city needs to look beyond summer tourism and that he supports making Homer a four-season tourism destination.

Lewis also supports further development of South Peninsula Hospital and other health care industries.

On expanding marijuana zoning, Lewis says the council should listen to its advisory committee.

“Port and Harbor — their advisory committee, I think it was a vote four to three in favor of having a shop on the Spit. You have places that sell liquor, you have the Salty Dog. You know, I don’t mind a wait-and-see [approach], but I would not mind seeing it out there,” said Lewis.

Lewis does support the proposed bond to build a new public safety building.

He says he would do all he could as mayor to advocate for education funding. He adds that he also supports development of the Kachemak Bay Campus of Kenai Peninsula College. 

He does not support city incentives for builders to construct more affordable housing. 

He says he supports clean industries that do not harm the environment.

Lewis says his involvement in the community for nearly three decades, along with his recent experience on the city council, has prepared him for the job of mayor.

“The people know what I have done over the years. But the most important thing is not whether you’re going to vote for me or Bryan, it is that you show up and vote. Period. And you know, there are going to be a lot of issues on this ballot with the borough and everything else that are important and we need more than 28 percent show-up,” said Lewis. 

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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.