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Primary Profile: Shauna Thornton

Courtesy of Shauna Thornton

Shauna Thornton is the lone Democrat running for House District 30, covering the central Kenai Peninsula. Primary voters registered as Democrat, Libertarian or Independent will see her name when they go to the polls Aug. 16, as well as undeclared voters who choose the Democrat ballot. Since she’s unopposed, Thornton will move on to the general election Nov. 8. The Alaska primary election is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 16.

Shauna Thornton says she’s ready to speak up on behalf of her constituents if elected to House District Seat 30, but only after listening.

“We need somebody that’s going to represent our community very honestly and very openly and not from any particular side, and being willing to listen to all walks of life,” Thornton said.

Thornton is a legal assistant and student union advisor at Kenai Peninsula College’s Kenai River Campus. She ran unsuccessfully for the central peninsula House seat in 2014, and says she’s running again this year because the state is even more in need of new direction. As a Democrat, she’d be a change from the Republicans who have most often represented the central Kenai Peninsula. She thinks constituents are ready for a change.

“I think that people are looking at the person that they’re sending and the person that has integrity and is upstanding and is always out there in the community volunteering on a daily basis. I think that we deserve better. And I think there are a lot of things that we can do to bring our community together,” Thornton said.

Bridging the state’s budget gap is high on Thornton’s list of priorities. Weaning the state off its reliance on oil and gas revenue is a first step, and one that will take some ingenuity, she says. Thornton cites peony farmers on the Kenai Peninsula as an example of out-of-the-box economic thinking.

“So we have to look at some things that probably wouldn’t be mainstream, so that we can use our Alaska innovative spirit, which we all have, and our ingenuity to get through these bumps that we have,” Thornton said.

One solution Thornton doesn’t support is using earnings from the Alaska Permanent Fund. She says she’ll work to protect dividends.

“I think it needs to be a holistic approach, not just a pick here and a pick there and a pick somewhere else, versus needing to take a knee-jerk and go right for your PFDs right out of the gate. Because that’s more of a regressive approach than progressive approach,” Thornton said.  

Thornton says that work toward building a natural gas pipeline from the North Slope to Nikiski needs more transparency so Alaskans can be better informed and involved.

She says she’s not afraid of facing hard topics and making decisions, but she wants constituents in on the conversations.

“I think this is more of a pulling together that we need to approach it with, and being honest and open and saying, ‘This is where we are going to have to cut, this might be where we have to tax,’ and we need to be able to put that to the voters so that we can all have a say in what’s going on,” Thornton said.

More information on Thornton can be found on her Facebook page.

Jenny reports on the Kenai Peninsula Borough and other stories in the Central Kenai Peninsula for KBBI.
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