Homer Electric Association has officially begun its board of directors election, mailing out ballots on April 4. Use your power in our co-op – vote and mail them back by May 3rd.
These often-overlooked elections have deep and long-lasting effects on the lives of Kenai Peninsula residents, and on the economies of our region and state. It’s thanks to a pro-renewable board majority that HEA is now working toward the most ambitious renewable goal in the Railbelt – being 50% renewable by 2025 – and they’ll need a supportive board to reach the goal. In the midst of a global climate crisis and growing economic disparity, local institutions matter. While all institutions have a responsibility to be part of the solution, our democratically controlled energy system plays a special role.
Participation in these elections is typically low. HEA elections over the past decade have been determined by only around 15% of member-owners. Meanwhile, member-owners’ trust in the electric co-op is eroding as the price of electricity continues to rise. Just as it is the board members’ responsibility to hold the utility accountable, it is the member-owners’ duty to elect strong board members and hold them accountable. In the spirit of making a difference where we can, let’s empower ourselves and our neighbors to vote in this utility election cycle.
Kenai and Nikiski: Summer Lazenby
If you have an electric meter in Kenai or Nikiski, you’ll likely have a chance to vote for Summer Lazenby, who supports exploring our rich options for wind, solar, and small hydro energy. A Kenai Peninsula resident for 24 years, she understands how high energy costs hit household budgets, and won’t waste any opportunities for long-term sustainable energy. She would bring excellent organizational experience to the HEA board, having worked as educational director for the Challenger Learning Center, executive director of the Kenai Peninsula Tourism Marketing Council, and the General Manager of Custom Seafoods. She currently serves on the boards of the Kenai Community Foundation and the Peninsula Food Bank, and previously spent a total of nine years on the board of the Leeshore Center, where she was twice board president.
South Peninsula: Erin McKittrick
Current HEA Vice President Erin McKittrick is seeking a second term in the southern district, covering the peninsula south of the Kasilof River. She’s championed both renewables and board transparency, going above and beyond in analyzing and communicating the decisions our co-op faces. After every board meeting, Erin has posted write-ups both on her own Facebook page and in public groups like Homer Communications and Seldovia Chatter.
Erin’s vote was vital in setting the renewable goal and in HEA’s decision to install a grid-scale battery system, which is now saving the co-op money by supplying fuel-free backup power, and will allow variable renewables in the future.
In HEA’s central district, covering Soldotna and Sterling, Dan Furlong is running unopposed.
When your ballot arrives in the mail, be sure not to throw it away. If you do, you can contact HEA for a new one at (907) 283-5831. Exercise your voice in the Kenai Peninsula’s energy future – return ballots by May 3. You’ll also have an opportunity to meet the pro-renewable candidates and ask them questions at our RE-Power the Peninsula conversation on April 18, 5:30-6:30. Register via Zoom here.