Political newbie plans ‘common sense’ campaign

Yukon Independent knows she faces long odds in bid for HD-43 seat

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By Conrad Dudderar

Senior Staff Writer

Although she realizes she faces long odds, a Yukon Independent looks forward to campaigning against an incumbent Republican lawmaker in this year’s election.

A Kentucky native, Cassie Kinet is a political newcomer who waited until the last day of the filing period to throw her hat in the ring for the House District 43 seat.

“I’m a freshman at this,” she said. “I’m not the polished politician. I’m not going to be. I won’t be. I am just going to be myself the whole time.”

Kinet, 35, works for the Door Dash on-demand food delivery service. She said her campaign will be all about “common sense.”

“I am somebody who will listen,” she said. “I want to let people know that they are being heard. I think so many people are so frustrated with our political system right now.

“I want them to know there are people who are willing to listen to them.”

Kinet is challenging State Rep. Jay Steagall, R-Yukon, for the HD-43 post. Steagall, 43, is seeking his second term.

Since Kinet is an Independent and Steagall is a Republican, the race won’t be decided until the Nov. 3 general election. The winner earns the next two-year term.

“I voted for him and I think he does a fine job,” the challenger said of Rep. Steagall. “I just worry that maybe he’s too much to one side.”

Kinet has been a registered Republican and a registered Democrat, saying she “didn’t like either.” She cited a political polarization that has overtaken the country.

“It’s rough right now,” she said. “At some point, we have to come to a common ground for the people rather than this ugly ‘back-and-forth’.”

Kinet most recently changed her political party affiliation to Independent because she believes more government leaders “in the middle” are needed.

‘SOMETHING HAS TO BE DONE’

The HD-43 challenger explained why she decided to run for the state House of Representatives. Kinet was prompted by a mental health crisis that involved someone she knew.

“I decided, rather than sitting at home griping about the situation of how many mental care health beds we have, why not run and see what I can get done?” she said.

“I also do a lot of volunteer work, especially with women of domestic violence. We don’t have a lot of services for them.”

Kinet said she “loves” working for Door Dash, where she’s met “so many people” while getting to know local business owners. She enjoys being an “actual servant” of the public.

“Every day, I’m buying groceries for people and hearing their frustrations,” she said.

“I talk to small business owners every day. Even before the coronavirus (crisis), so many were struggling. There’s things we can do for them.”

Kinet said when the economy “started crashing,” she knew she had to “do something.”

The HD-43 candidate grew up and graduated high school in a small town in Kentucky before moving to Connecticut where she worked for a bank. She returned to Kentucky and spent three years as operations manager for a taxi company.

She moved to her new home in Yukon in 2013 with Ruben Kinet, who would become her husband six years later.

Before joining Door Dash 1-1/2 years ago, Kinet worked in customer service at Xerox, was a night auditor at a hotel and sold furniture.

This is Kinet’s first attempt at running for elected office. She said she “hates” politics.

“They’re terrible,” she said. “I hated them in high school when they made me give a speech. I was ready to cry. But something has to be done. If nobody else wants to try, I’m willing to.

“I want to be there for the people. I want to be an ‘ear’ for the people, and a mouthpiece.”