- Born and raised in Oxnard, CA
- 1965: First Alaska experience
- Tree clearing business in Anchorage
- 1967: Began drift salmon fishing - Port Graham, Homer, Kenai
- 1973: Met wife Tina
- 1975: Moved to Seward
- 1979: Daughter Tawny born
- 1981: Moved to Anchor Point
- 1982: Son Rand born
- 1992: Co-founded Alaska Marine Conservation Council
- 1992: Moved to Homer (Kachemak City)
- 2002: First elected to the House of the Alaska Legislature
- 2012: First grandchild Hazel born
I was born and raised in the coastal farming town of Oxnard, California. I had a normal childhood with a very community-minded mother and hard-working father. I was a first baseman in Little League and later was captain of the high school tennis team. Family camping was our main outdoor activity. I was quite involved with the local gem and mineral society and was an avid rock hound. In fact, it was a 1965 summer rock hounding expedition to Alaska when I was twenty, that introduced me to the Last Frontier. I subsequently became a partner in a right-of-way tree clearing business in Anchorage, and in 1967 started drift salmon fishing in Cook Inlet. I fished out of Port Graham where I stored my boat at first, then moved the operation to Homer and Kenai.
I met my wife Tina while she was a deckhand on her relative's boat in 1973. In 1974 we bought a 47-foot shrimp vessel in North Carolina and brought it around through the Panama Canal and up to Alaska for halibut fishing and tendering. At that time our plans were to live in Herring Pete's old place on Nuka Island on the outer Kenai Coast.
In the end, though, we bought a house in Seward in 1975. I should clarify the word "house" as the building had been a World War II army warehouse converted into officer quarters. It was definitely an abandoned fixer-upper, but since we had prepared for remote living, anything with electricity seemed a jewel. I got an education in planning and zoning while successfully pursuing a rezoning to allow a duplex in a single-family neighborhood. Over several years we lived in one end of the house while completely renovating the other end. In 1979 we welcomed our daughter Tawny into the world.
While in Seward, I served on both the Harbor Commission and the Seward Fish and Game Advisory Committee. Without TV, Tina and I were drawn to city council meetings as an informative and recreational activity. A few days after meeting the one-year residency requirement, I ran for City Council. I missed winning a seat by about 10 votes.
In 1981 we moved to Anchor Point, off the Old Sterling Highway. We built an Alaskan house, a 40 by 60 ft. shop with a second floor house in one end. Our second child Rand was born in 1982. For the next 10 years we were heavily involved with Chapman School and the Anchor Point community. Tina served as a room mother and president of the Parent-Teacher-Student organization.
In 1993 we built a house just east of Homer in Kachemak City and moved to the shores of Kachemak Bay. I built a shop beside Northern Enterprises Boatyard to support my fishing and tendering business. Since 1975, my vessel the Georgia Straits has tendered salmon and herring from the west side of Cook Inlet. Tina became active in Girl Scouts as troop leader for our daughter. Even after Tawny went away to college, Tina continued with the scouts, eventually becoming the lower peninsula service unit manager and overseeing eleven troops. I was active in the Little League program with our son Rand and progressed from coach to manager, and as a member of the board of directors.
In 1992 I joined with a group of other community-minded citizens from across the state, most of them fishermen, to form The Alaska Marine Conservation Council (AMCC). The philosophy behind the organization is that coastal fishermen and communities are a part of our ecosystem, and that sustainable fisheries are necessary for these communities to survive. I served as the first chairman and acting executive director. AMCC has had great success in changing the debate to put sustainable fisheries at the forefront of the regulatory bodies, had a large part in establishing the state Pacific cod fishery, got the nets off the bottom in the Bering Sea Pollock fishery, and defended the coastal small boat fleet against preemption by large offshore corporate vessels. Although I am no longer on the board, having served my term limits, I still support the goals and mission as beneficial to the long-term health of our coastal communities.
In 1998, our son Rand suddenly developed chronic fatigue syndrome. He was playing on the varsity football team on Saturday and could not get out of bed on Monday. He was disabled to the point of missing the entire next three years of high school. He gradually overcome the illness. He earned a GED and enrolled in college in Michigan, later graduated from University of Nevada and later pursued a Masters of Arts in Teaching from the University of Alaska. He now teaches at the middle school in Homer. This experience has given me a better understanding of families and schools in dealing with the diversity of individual medical situations. Our daughter Tawny graduated with a masters in paleontology from the University of Michigan and is married to Shaun Reynolds from Seldovia. They have our only granddaughter and live in northern California.
The 'empty nest' has given me the opportunity to work for our communities in Juneau without sacrificing important family commitments.
Also see publications and presentations, Paul's work experiences, and Paul's educational background.