I am writing in response to: Donald Szepanski's letter of June 28 concerning the record of Tony Knowles' years as governor. All I can say is in the words of the late, great Ronald Reagan "There you go again, Don!" Facts are a funny thing. They can be twisted and used to present truth or non-truths, and maybe we should look at Gov. Knowles' record just one more time.
Gov. Knowles helped to develop the Quality Schools Initiative (QSI), a state-led program to reform our educational system. This program raised educational standards for students and teachers and showed results in improved tests scores, leading Alaska to become one of 13 states to see both math and verbal SAT scores rise.
In social services, let's talk about fact twisting! Republican legislative cuts were responsible for decreased staffing in almost every area of the state and especially in the area of Children's Services. After years of pleading for more money, more support, more funding, a Justice probe was initiated. The probe actually found that years of funding cuts by the Legislature had left the department understaffed and unable to adequately protect the children in its care. You are correct that it became a problem that the Legislature had to fix. They fixed it because they broke it, Don!
Don't forget the Denali Kid Care program that provided health care benefits for children of working families who were uninsured or underinsured. Another program initiated by Gov. Knowles for Alaska families.
Tony Knowles is a Vietnam veteran with a strong record of supporting our veterans. He is pro-defense and a strong supporter of our military in Alaska. While governor, he increased the number of beds available to veterans in Pioneers' Homes, created the Alaska Veterans Advisory Council and authorized an additional $110 million in bonds for the Alaska Housing Finance Corp., making housing more affordable for veterans.
In the economic area, Gov. Knowles created 30,000 jobs and for two of his eight years as governor, Alaska had the lowest unemployment rate since statehood!
He is pro-ANWR and my question is this: Since the Republicans have been unsuccessful in moving the Senate on ANWR, why not let Tony Knowles have a try at convincing Congress that we can develop the refuge through a "doing it right" approach that includes the necessary protections for air, land and water?
I have lived in Alaska 33 years and believe Tony Knowles has a record of putting Alaskans first and would fight both political parties to make sure our voice is heard in Congress. I believe Tony would be an independent, positive voice in the Senate and would represent all Alaskans.
Tony Knowles is the right candidate for the U.S. Senate, and he has the record to prove it!
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