The former mayor of Hoonah, “Kenny Karl” Skaflestad, has filed to run against Sitka’s Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins for House District 35.
Skaflestad is Tlingit and Aleut, and works on and off as a commercial fisherman. He attended Petersburg High School and graduated from Juneau-Douglas High School in the 1970s. He has worked in construction as well as being a power troller.
Skaflestad served two terms on Hoonah City Council, helped establish a short-term Chamber of Commerce, the Citizen’s Community Support Team and Hoonah Citizen’s Task Force.
“I began my career in civil construction at a young age,” he said. “Experience in rural Alaska helped me to thrive as Hoonah’s mayor and prompted the founding of the Alaska Hubzone, which is a non-profit corporation serving rural areas. Most of all, the early construction experience developed my strong support for economic development.”
He will focus on jobs and economic growth for the District 35 region that includes places like Kake, Klawock, Thorne Bay, Petersburg, and Sitka.
Incumbent Kreiss-Tompkins dropped out of Yale University to run for legislative office and has not held any other actual job.
The district is evenly split between conservatives and liberals, although Sitka is a liberal stronghold for hometown boy Kreiss-Tomkins, who recently filed legislation to change the Alaska constitutional designation of marriage as between a man and a woman. His earlier legislation was to enshrine 20 Native languages as official languages of the State of Alaska. He has advocated for an income tax along with the Democratic majority that controls the House.
Feted by the mainstream media, Kreiss-Tomkins was featured prominently in Politico for having been recruited by the Alaska Democratic Party to run for House in 2012.
KREISS-TOMKINS BUILDS WAR CHEST FROM SAN FRANCISCO, NEW YORK DONORS
Skaflestad, who filed as a Republican, has some catching up to do in the fundraising department.
Kreiss-Tomkins has a busy online fundraising effort, but of the 56 donors he declared in his recent Feb. 15 required fundraising disclosures, 45 were from out of state; 11 donors were from California and 17 were from the East Coast, including New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Chicago, and Maryland.
Over half of Kreiss-Tomkins donors have not yet disclosed their job titles and/or employers, which is information required by Alaska election laws, and others have not listed their actual home towns, or have listed fake towns, such as Washington, Alaska.
But Kreiss-Tomkins has a nearly $9,000 head start on the Alaska Native fisherman from Hoonah, whom people in District 35 know simply at “Kenny Karl.”