Ron Devon, Senate District N: Minding Alaska's business

As a third-generation rural Alaskan I’ve worked hard to make a good life for my family by building and running small businesses here in the state. I’ve also been a commercial fisherman, and understand what this year did to the Peninsula. I’ve worked on the Slope, as a general contractor, a hunting outfitter and fishing guide in Bristol Bay. My roots in rural, road-system Alaska run deep. I understand its freedoms and challenges. I understand the concerns that many on the Peninsula have that an Anchorage-ite representing them in the legislature won’t understand their way of life. I want you to know, I do. I also learned, from my small town upbringing, that working together, even if you don’t agree on everything, is the only way to get things done.

I’m a business guy. I focus on the bottom line, I can’t sleep without balanced budgets, and fiscal issues need to make sense or I don’t sign off. I’ve employed many Alaskans, and I know what makes the economy work. We not only need a low-tax, pro-business climate with minimal government involvement, but good-paying local jobs so money is reinvested in the local economy. My opponent has scolded those who push for Alaska Hire. Alaska preference for qualified workers? I say, Hell, yes!

The biggest business deal we face as Alaskans right now has to do with our oil. I don’t think giving $2 billion a year from state coffers to oil companies without some guarantee of more exploration, more production, or more Alaskan jobs makes sense. It’s not complicated, and you don’t need a business degree to know that’s not a wise transaction from a fiscally conservative standpoint. We need to know what we’re getting and then decide if it makes sense. It doesn’t matter how much is flowing through the pipe, if we’re giving it away.

A strong economy also means that our kids can thrive and put down roots at home in Alaska. My opponent is on record supporting the idea that we should “completely privatize the Alaska school system.” I come from private sector business, and I believe in the free market, but that goes too far. Education is our children’s birthright and a shining example of our American excpetionalism. In this country, every child can get a great education, as long as they have parents, teachers, and elected leaders who are willing to support them. We must constantly work to improve our schools, but not throw the students out with the bathwater. Our public dollars should never be used to prop up private schools that can’t make it on their own.

We’ve got some exciting projects in our sights. It’s time for a gas line that terminates in Nikiski. It’s time to winter our fishing fleet over in Seward. It’s time for some road work in this district. To make sure this district gets its fair share, it will take someone who is willing to come to the table and work with the powerful majority coalition, whatever that looks like. Nuts and bolts issues require hard work, and elected office is no place to say that you can’t “compromise your principles” by working across party lines. My principles mean I take this job seriously, and will work on your behalf, effectively.

I’ve lived, worked, and enjoyed the outdoors across our district for most of my life. I love our district, and the people in it. I will always be available to you, and give this district a long-needed voice at the table.

I’d be honored to have your vote on November 6th.

More

What others say: Obama took right tack on Cuba

There’s no solution to the half-century old Cuba problem that will satisfy everyone, but we strongly believe President Obama made the right decision to end the troubled “wet foot, dry foot” policy.

Read more

What others say: Obama’s legacy a mixed one

President Barack Obama leaves office Friday after eight years as the most consequential Democrat to occupy the White House since Lyndon Johnson. And unlike that Texan, whose presidency was born in tragedy and ended in failure, Obama will not have the ghost of the Vietnam War haunting his days and eating his conscience as LBJ did all the remaining days of his life.

Read more

Op-ed: Trump won the news conference

Donald Trump should do press conferences more often. Not for the country’s sake, certainly not for the media’s sake, but for his. He really shouldn’t have waited 167-plus days to hold one, because the man gives great sound bite. Although I’ve participated in probably thousands of these staged encounters as a reporter, they’re not my favorite way of getting news — you almost never get any. The guy at the podium controls the proceeding. He can get his message out with little challenge from the assembled journalists who are limited to a question and a follow-up, maybe. Politicians can bob and weave through that without any of us landing a blow. And that’s our job: to penetrate the canned responses to their version of the controversy du jour and get at whatever truth they are hiding. Besides, Trump — who uses contempt for the media as a weapon, his preferred way to discredit reporting that displeases him —has a wonderful forum to do that. At the very least he should hold these confrontations as a supplement to his Twitter tirades. And frequently. It’s his opportunity to hold the media hostage as they cover live his rain of abuse on them.

Read more

Good luck in Juneau

The 30th Alaska Legislature gavels in on Tuesday, and we’d like to take a moment to wish our Kenai Peninsula legislators good luck over the coming months in Juneau.

Read more