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

Posted: October 31, 2012 - 1:47pm

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.

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