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Valdez Star 

Taking the oath: new mayor and council members sworn into office

With municipal elections over, Valdez gears up for Alaska's statewide elections


The new mayor and city council members were sworn into office last week.

Deputy city clerk Allie Ferko administered the oath of office to Jeremy O'Neil and then the newly elected city council members May 15 as the council gaveled in for its first regularly scheduled post-election meeting.

O'Neil, who was elected mayor by a vast majority on May 2, was handed the mayor's gavel by Ruth Knight, the outgoing mayor, who did not run for reelection.

Council member Dennis Fleming, who was sworn into office for a second consecutive term, was later in the meeting elected by fellow council members to hold the position of mayor pro tempore; Fleming also served a non-consecutive term on the city council.

The mayor pro tempore position was previously held by Nate Smith, who did not run for reelection after serving several terms on council.

The duties of mayor pro tempore include standing in place for the mayor when he (or she) is not available for official duties.

Incumbent Chris Moulton and newcomer Ron Ruff also took the oath of office for council.

Moulton ran for a two-year term and Ruff will serve a three-year term.

While this year's local municipal elections are over for the year, electioneering in Valdez is likely to see a big uptick this summer as it is an election year in Alaska – and both the House and Senate Districts that include Valdez will be electing new lawmakers.

Gov. Bill Walker – who has deep ties to Valdez – is running for reelection as an independent, along with running mate, Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott.

The team is already facing a long list of opponents, including Mike Dunleavey of Wasilla, the former senator for District F (which includes Valdez) who quit his senate seat to run for governor.

Rep. George Rauscher, who currently represents Valdez and District 9 in the Alaska House, is now running for the Alaska Senate seat formerly held by Dunleavey; Mike Shower, R-Wasilla is also running for reelection after he was appointed by Walker to fill Dunleavey's seat.

As of Tuesday morning, Pamela Goode of Delta Junction was the only candidate who had filed with the Alaska Division of Elections to run for the District 9 seat in the Alaska House.

Valdez has a long tradition of sending its civic-minded citizens to the Alaska Legislature, but no candidates for House or Senate have emerged so far.

The deadline to file mandatory paperwork to run for Alaska senate, house or governor is rapidly approaching.

Tony Gorman photo

Ruth Knight passed the mayor's gavel to the newly elected mayor, Jeremey O'Neil, a week ago Tuesday after he and the newly elected council members took the oath of office during the regularly scheduled city council meeting.

"The Alaska Division of Elections (DOE) reminds all Alaskans that the candidate filing deadline for the 2018 Primary and General Elections is 5 p.m. on Friday, June 1, 2018," the Lt. Gov.'s office said Monday in a press release.

The process to declare candidacy for governor or the Alaska Legislature is straightforward, but the deadlines are absolute.

"Anyone interested in running for office must submit a completed, signed and notarized declaration of candidacy along with their financial disclosure statement and designated filing fee on or before the deadline," Mallott's office said. "The Division of Elections urges potential candidates to file their paperwork to ensure they meet qualifications."

The primary elections for state office are set for August 21. Primary winners will run in the general election which will be held Tuesday, November 6.


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