Mike Milligan

Senate District R Democrat

Posted: Tuesday, August 17, 2004

My state Senate District R has provided wealth for the human inhabitants here long before the Great Pyramids were built. Rail lines started in Seward helped to develop the state. New fisheries developed in Homer and Kodiak drove economies there and further west. The Navy and Coast Guard conducted daily operations in some of the worst conditions on earth.

Those who worked hard were well rewarded.

Now the well connected have begun to replace the well deserved.

Look at the way the coalbed methane industry was promoted.

Look at how the governor removed the Habitat Division from Department of Fish and Game where it was funded by federal sportsman funds set up in the 1950s to the Division of Natural Resources where it was not.

And education?

When was the last time you said "I need an adequate car" or "let's go out and have an adequate meal in a restaurant."

When did we decide that the word "adequate" was going to be our goal for education? The phrase "adequate funding for education" has done more to lower our expectations than anything else.

A friend of mine, a retired coach, said, "When you work in public education you take every single kid you get and you do everything possible to raise him up to his or her full potential."

We're not doing that.

Many of the key discussions on issues as diverse as the elimination of the Longevity Bonus or the splitting of permanent fund revenues are being conducted behind closed doors in meetings that would be illegal were they to be conducted in a similar fashion at the municipal level.

This is wrong.

So what am I for?

1) Open meeting caucuses.

2) A small income tax with a property tax deduction to be collected with a permanent fund dividend application so we can find out if any of the more than 17,000 people who get a PFD sent to a Lower 48 address are willing to pay to be Alaskans or if they just want a check.

But more than anything I want to return to a balanced Legislature.

I served on the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly for seven years where I approved seven school district budgets.

I was a charter member of the Cook Inlet Regional Citizens Advisory Council that oversees the oil industry in Cook Inlet.

I am a 30-year resident of Alaska. I raised six wonderful children here. I worked hard all my life from the trans-Alaska pipeline to the commercial fisheries of Cook Inlet and Kodiak.

I love Alaska and I ask for your vote.

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