Rather than joining his colleagues for energy council State Senator Peter Micciche took a long weekend to come home and visit with his constituents while the legislature was shut down. “I think it’s imperative, it gives me the opportunity to explain why I’m voting the way I am. I have a lot of committee assignments and there’s a lot going on this year so I felt it was important to come home and spend some time with my supervisors, the voters of District O, so we did a constituent meeting in Homer and in Soldotna,” explained Micciche.
Some 40 to 50 residents joined the senator for a slice of pizza and soda during the two hour town hall style meeting. “How folks feel at home dramatically effects how I feel about issues and the time I put into issues. Sometimes when I’m going in a certain direction on an issue and I get a lot of constituent email it causes to pause, re-evaluate my position and see if there is something I can do to improve the specific bill to make sure that District O is well represented,” he stated. The meeting is a two way street said Micciche and also gave him a venue to bring information on issues home to the voters, “We have the ultimate experts on issues available to us and in our office we pride ourselves on taking the time to learn more about an issue than anyone else and to become a resource of information. Any constituent can always call the office and inquire about what we know about a certain issue and why we’re heading in a certain direction. I just won’t cast a vote until I have all the information,” he said.
The transition from mayor to senator has been jarring said Micciche. Stating that when he was mayor the facts were straight and the direction was clear, “At city council meetings I enjoyed seeing two opposing sides to an issue mesh and come to consensus. I really miss that part of it because that was one thing I prided myself in, being the middle guy,” he said. But now, he said his constituents represent such an array of interests that rarely are there ever just two sides to an issue. He said he still tries to bridge the middle ground, but there are many more angles that have to be considered. He said it is painful watching politics kill good legislation, “City council was more intimate with fewer people making the decisions,” he said.
As far as the historical importance of legislation pending during the current session Micciche said, “There have been many past legislative sessions that I believe have been as important as this one. I believe its cyclical, we make decisions, then sit back for years and perhaps wait a little too long as Alaskans to make the hard decisions necessary to the prosperity and future of the State. I have often said that I think party politics and parochialism has done more to hurt our State and kept us from moving forward than anything else. However, I think we have a good group of Alaskans working together to try and solve some of these long standing issues like a budget that is out of control and a steep decline in North Slope production which brings in 92% of our State revenues and we still have Alaskans starving for reliable low cost energy. These issues are our focus and I feel we will have some positive results out of this session regarding them.” Micciche can be reached by phone at 800-964-5733 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.