The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

Editor, Valdez Star 

Battle for elected offices in full swing according to city clerk

Seats for mayor, council and school board will be up for grabs this May


The ballot is slowly filling up with candidates hoping to win a term to elected office in Valdez.

"Filing period is now open for city council and school board," Sheri Pierce, the city clerk and top election official in Valdez said Monday night during the council meeting. "The mayor's position is also open."

Sitting council member Jim Shirrell has taken out a packet to run for both city council and mayor.

Shirrell said he has not yet decided whether he will run for mayor or reelection as a council member but said he will not run for both seats.

A candidate can take out petitions for both positions, but can only be on the ballot for council member or mayor, not both. A candidate can run for both city council and school board at the same time and hold both elected offices.

The print edition of the Valdez Star stated incorrectly that a candidate can run for both mayor and city council on the same ballot. That is incorrect.

Larry Weaver, the current mayor of Valdez, stated unequivocally Monday night during the council meeting that he will not run for reelection.

"I will not be running for mayor for reelection," he said, and advised any potential candidates to look carefully at what the position entails before running for office, noting the position requires a considerable time commitment. "This job's a whole lot more than voluntary."

Former council member Dennis Fleming has filed a petition to run for a council seat. David Jonas and Darren Reese, both newcomers to elected office in Valdez, have returned completed petitions to the clerk's office to run for council and will be on the ballot.

Council members Nate Smith and Chris Moulton, whose terms expire this May, have both taken out petitions to run for reelection but as of Monday night had not returned the petitions to the clerk's office. Both Smith and Moulton told the Valdez Star they intend to return the petitions to be on the May ballot.

There are three open seats for council for two year terms.

School board member Alan Sorum, whose term expires in May, has taken out a nominating petition to fill the one-year vacancy on the board.

That seat is currently held by Erika Shirk, who was appointed to the board late last year upon the resignation of then-board member Bill Comer.

Comer, the former Valdez police chief, left his job and board position after Gov. Bill Walker appointed him Deputy Commissioner of the Alaska Dept. of Safety in Juneau.

Shirk has taken out a petition to run for a regular school board seat, as has Sonya Ash-Selanoff.

Running for public office is fairly easy. To qualify, a candidate must be registered to vote in Valdez and have lived within the city limits for at least one year prior to filing to run for office.

Hopefuls for city council or school board seats must pick up a petition in person from the city clerk's office and return it with the signatures of 25 qualified Valdez voters. Candidates for mayor must have 50 signatures. The deadline to submit a complete petition is 5 p.m. March 15.

The election is May 3.


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