Alaska Senate president Peter Micciche will not run for reelection

Sens. Shelley Hughes, R-Palmer, Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, and Mike Shower, R-Wasilla, talk before a floor session on Tuesday, January 21, 2020 in Juneau, Alaska. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/KTOO)

Soldotna Republican Sen. Peter Micciche will not run for reelection to the Alaska Legislature this November.

The three-term senator and current Senate president made the announcement on May 25, one week after the Legislature adjourned for the session.

Micciche said his reasoning is simple — he wants to spend more time with his family.

“For eight of the 10 years, my family was able to travel with me,” he said. “However, two years ago, one of the oldest became a high-schooler. And that has changed life fairly dramatically. They simply can’t travel back and forth anymore.”

That means he’s spent more time away from his wife and daughters than he’d like.

“And I think it’s a good time,” he said. “I think we got some important things done over the past decade. And sometimes some new faces provide different catalysts to kind of shake loose some of the things where people have dug into their positions.”

Micciche is the senator for what’s now Seat D and was formerly Seat O, before the new legislative maps were set in November. The seat includes an area that stretches from Kenai and Soldotna, north to Hope and east to Bear Creek.

He said he’s proud to have made it a goal to stay in touch with constituents who he said felt voiceless — including seniors, veterans and disabled Alaskans.

And his tenure ends on a sweet spot. After a decade of pushing his alcohol regulation rewrite bill through the Legislature, the bill passed this session.

The other major bill he worked on, which would’ve established a permit buyback program for Cook Inlet set-netters, did not make it through despite support at home.

Micciche, himself a drift fisherman, said he’s not yet sure if another lawmaker will take up the torch on that bill.

“I don’t know who the right person would be to try to move that forward. But obviously, we’re having problems getting that bill supported in the Legislature,” he said.

Micciche said he’ll be busy with work around the house and what he calls a traditional Alaska summer, including a summer of fishing. He said he’s not ready to go back to a day job yet. Micicche was previously superintendent of the liquified natural gas plant in Nikiski, at the time owned by ConocoPhillips.

But he said he will stay involved in state and local matters from Soldotna.

“I’m very optimistic that a new set of players will be able to continue the important work that’s happening in the Legislature,” he said. “And in some ways with a new catalyst, they might be more successful in some areas where we haven’t been able to move forward.”

He said he hopes the Legislature can inch closer to creating a comprehensive fiscal plan for the state before his time is officially up in January.

Micciche’s successor will serve a two-year term, due to redistricting.

Soldotna’s Tuckerman Babcock is running for the seat this November. Babcock was previously Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s chief of staff and chair of the Alaska Republican party.

Nikiski’s Jesse Bjorkman is also running for the seat. Bjorkman is a member of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly, as well as a teacher and fisherman.

Andrew Cizek of Soldotna is also listed as a registered candidate for the Senate race.

Correction: Micciche’s most recent term is a four-year term. His successor will serve a two-year term.

KDLL - Kenai

KDLL is our partner station in Kenai. KTOO collaborates with partners across the state to cover important news and to share stories with our audiences.

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