Love for Alaska will be uniting, driving force of conference

Posted: Sunday, February 01, 2004

If the Kenai Peninsula delegates participating in Gov. Frank Murkowski's Conference of Alaskans later this month are any indication, residents have good reason to hope for the future.

Kristie Leaf of Kenai, a State Farm insurance agent and former aide to Gov. Walter Hickel; Mike Navarre of Kenai, a former state representative and borough mayor; Lisa Parker of Soldotna, who serves on the Soldotna City Council and works for Agrium; and Clem Tillion of Halibut Cove, a former state senator and fish czar, will be part of the ground-breaking conference of 55 designed to answer questions related to the role of the Alaska Permanent Fund in the state's future. The conference is scheduled to meet Feb. 10-12 in Fairbanks.

While the four peninsula delegates have diverse backgrounds, they share one thing with each other and the rest of the conference participants: a love for Alaska. That passion for the place where they live may prove to be the unifying and driving force for the tough work ahead of the delegates. There's no doubt their concern for the state will give delegates a long, broad perspective of the fiscal problems facing the state. These are not fly-by-night Alaskans; they're rooted in Alaska; they're here for the long haul. That gives us confidence that the solutions they propose will have the best interest of the entire state at heart for now and future generations.

We wish them well in this worthwhile endeavor. All Alaskans are fortunate to have these four residents working on their behalf. Our hope is other Alaskans will wait to hear what comes out of the conference before they start to criticize. This work is far too important to have it shot down before it even begins.

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