Kenai news: Rep. Ben Carpenter files for Senate Seat D, and John Hillyer files for House District 8

Rep. Ben Carpenter of Nikiski, and John Hillyer of Soldotna

Rep. Ben Carpenter of Nikiski has filed to run for the Alaska Senate seat representing much of the North Kenai Peninsula. The incumbent in the Senate seat is first-term Sen. Jesse Bjorkman of Nikiski, who is a Republican member of the Democrat-dominated Senate majority.

Rep. Carpenter has called Alaska home for most of his life. Born to apple orchard farmers in eastern Washington state, as a child he moved to Alaska with his parents. He graduated from Nikiski High School and is a U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army veteran who deployed to the Middle East six times.

Carpenter first ran for House in 2016 and was easily reelected three times. He is chair of the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee, and serves on House Judiciary and State Affairs committees. He co-chairs the Victims Advocate Selection Committee.

When not serving in the Legislature, Carpenter and his wife manage a family farm growing commercial quantities of cut-flower peonies and they lead a farm cooperative that markets peonies to buyers in the Lower 48. They are parents and grandparents.

Bjorkman has the support of big labor unions and particularly the teachers union affiliates of the National Education Association. Bjorkman served as an officer for the Kenai Peninsula Education Association.

Jumping into the House District 8 race that Carpenter is vacating is John Hillyer of Soldotna. Hillyer is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and is a ham radio operator. Raised in a military family, he grew up in Hawaii and Japan, and has served all over the world as a fighter pilot.

Lt. Col. John Hillyer conducts pre-flight checks on F-22 block 30 no. 05-4107 from the 90th FS on June 17th, 2009, during Northern Edge 09 at Elmendorf AFB. Hillyer is the 477th FG commander at Elmendorf AFB. [USAF photo by MSgt. Shane A. Cuomo]

Hillyer has a storied military career, with 32 years in the Air Force and Air Force Reserve, leading the 477th Fighter Group’s first Raptor unit as group commander at Elmendorf Air Force Base. He has flown with Alaska Sen. Mike Shower, who is also a retired Air Force fighter pilot. Hillyer now flies for FedEx.

Hillyer said that he wants to raise his family in a world that is going in the right direction. He added, “I am not a politician. But Ben [Carpenter] and I represent the same conservative platform and will be working to ensure District 8 and Senate Seat D are in the right hands.”


  1. This story makes me extremely happy. Bjorkman simply needs to go away. And Carpenter is the guy to beat him. Hillyer appears to be a good guy. And if he has the endorsement of Shower I am all for him. We need common sense conservativism to finally take over both the house and the Senate. The BS that Stedman, Hoffman, and Bjorkman and Kaufman put Shower, Myers, and Hughes through this year is not only a slap in the face to them, but totally disenfranchises their constituents. GO BEN!

  2. Since the Kenai is supposed to be one of the more conservative areas in the state it will be nice to have a conservative representative in the State Senate for the first time in…how many years now? Maybe some of the other conservative areas will replace their sitting representatives with actual conservatives.

  3. I am right where I belong. Boys and girls, women, men and children I found my like-minded place in Alaska.

    Let freedom ring! Because I got a lot to say.

    However – more importantly, is supporting – loudly.


  4. Bjorkman defines RINO.
    He was a major COVID sheep, big on masking and vaxxing. He needs to go and Carpenter is the guy to do it.

  5. I Hope they win. They may have a higher layer of knowledge regarding the US Constitution that secures and defends the power which is sovereign in the people at this time an understanding of military matters could be of benefit in their public service.

  6. Until they get rank choice voting Eliminated then all the winners are loser. Please folks sign the petition lets get this back on the ballot.

  7. Ben Carpenter has proven his values to listen and act for his area and state. Extremely reachable and honest. I certainly support CARPENTER TO BUILD a BETTER ALASKA FOR THE PEOPLE!

  8. It was jaw dropping for everyone in the room at a District 7 meeting when Bjorkman zoomed in from Juneau and said he couldn’t stand to be in the same room with Senator Shower or Hughes.
    Bjorkman voted yes to steel a large portion of your lawful PFD, and voted yes on your 67% pay raise, yes for the 12th paid holiday in state government, yes on increasing the Base Student Allotment, yes on Defined Benefits, yes on the Carbon Offset bill, and yes on a bloated budget.
    Time for him to go!


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