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Voters decide on Homer’s new mayor

Aaron Bolton, KBBI News

Homer voters are deciding between two candidates on Tuesday with very different visions for the role of the mayor on the Homer City Council.

Candidate Ken Castner ran as a “citizens’ mayor,” promising not to break ties or make proclamations.  He is against dedicated funds, such as the Homer Accelerated Roads and Trails fund.

David Lewis campaigned on topics such as taxing bear-viewing operations, increasing traffic at the large vessel haul out and pushing the city to become a four-season destination.

Homer resident Andy Kita, who ran for a seat on city council last year, said he has more confidence in Lewis for mayor.

“He's very even-keeled and sees a wider range of situations,” he said.

Kimberly Ketter, who also ran for city council in the past, agrees with more of Lewis’ viewpoints as well.

“Like the bed tax, things like that,” she said. “I'm interested about the four-season destination. I've been [interested in it] since he's mentioned it a while ago. I think he has good ideas, and he served a while on the board, a number of years. I know more of what I’m going to get.”

But while his time on the city council impressed some voters, it pushed others to vote for Castner. Steven Shank doesn’t like that Lewis co-sponsored a divisive resolution regarding inclusivity while on council. The resolution was also the basis for the attempted recall of Lewis and two other council members.

“The whole sanctuary city thing, and he’s running on promoting that for our town,” Shank said.

Lewis did not mention the idea of a sanctuary city during public debates nor in his candidate statement, but he did say that he would like to see part of Homer’s mission statement note that the city is open and welcoming.  

Others, like resident Kayla Spaan, voted for Castner because they appreciated what he's done for the city.

“I love his creativity and his contributions to the community with the Homer Foundation and the Awesome Club,”  she said. “I know he's a supporter of free thinking, and I think that's really important too.”

She says she appreciates his commitment to decreasing divisiveness on the council, though she says it is not the main reason she is voting for him.

Polls will remain open until 8 p.m. this evening. KBBI will report the unofficial results on air, on social media and at after the polls close. The city’s canvass board will meet on Friday to tally up the final vote and the council is set to certify the election during its regular meeting on Oct. 8.

Renee joined KBBI in 2017 as a general assignment reporter and host. Her work has appeared on such shows as Weekend Edition Saturday, The World, Marketplace and Studio 360. Renee previously interned as a reporter for KPCC in Los Angeles and as a producer for Stateside at Michigan Radio. Her work has earned her numerous press club awards. She holds an M.S. in journalism from the University of Southern California and a B.A. in women's studies from the University of Michigan.
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