I have believed in the American democratic republic since I was eight and heard the words of President Kennedy, "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." I heard this message four years after my father and namesake, a Navy pilot, was killed overseas in Operation Deepfreeze at McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. I grew up wanting to serve America as my father had.
It is a great personal joy yet responsibility to serve the people of Soldotna as the Mayor. I love serving but I have found that people are depending too much on government and not enough of their own self-reliance and work ethic. Government is a necessary evil which should be limited by the constant vigilance of its taxpaying citizens. Government should treat everyone fairly but be expected to do only those things Constitutional which individuals cannot do for themselves but for which they are willing and able to fairly pay.
I find that many people expect government to parent children, to provide free services and to condone and tolerate citizens being rude and abusive to those in public service and those participating in the public process. All three of these expectations are examples of individuals failing to be American. Being an American is a difficult balance between earned privileges and benefits while accepting obligations and responsibilities fully.
As the terrible failures and results of Hurricane Katrina are imprinted into our memories, I pray that all of us appreciate the limits of government and renew our commitment to our responsibilities and families. Henry Ford, the great industrialist, said, "Failure allows one the opportunity to begin again, intelligently." I believe, we, who are the American government, need to begin again, intelligently.
We need to say thank you more often to those serving in military and civil uniform. We need to monitor our children more, discipline them when they are inappropriate and praise them more when they are good.
As Mayor, I need to begin again, intelligently. I am committed to improving the conditions of senior citizens in Alaska. After watching my mother feel betrayed and dieing two months after her Longevity Bonus was canceled, I am convinced that senior citizens are being treated unjustly.
Last month, I introduced the Conversion Allowance Recension Election (CARE) Program to the Alaska Conference of Mayors. The CARE Program is a voluntary concept to allow senior citizens to systematically cash out, at 50% value, their share of the permanent fund corpus in a "line of credit, loan program". It should not be taxed nor affect Medicare eligibility.
CARE would increase dividends for everyone, provide economic stability to local communities and justly allow seniors to live above poverty. Each Alaskan would have this option after they were 65 as long as they remained eligible for permanent fund dividends and received a dividend the year before they exercised the CARE option.
I look forward to serving in the future.
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