Public schools are a reflection of our democratic society. A large part of the responsibility of education is to promote active and involved citizenry. Participation in our democracy has never been more important.
September 11, 2001, has forever changed the way we live. However, our country has faced great challenges in the past, and we've become stronger because of them. World War I, the depression and World War II were watershed events for my parents' generation.
When I first moved to Alaska in 1968, I was escaping the turmoil and the aftermath of the deaths of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. Watts in Los Angeles was burning and many cities were torn apart by racial unrest. Coming into a classroom at Kenai Junior High to teach social studies was the challenge I was facing.
I soon discovered the students in Alaska were very similar to those in Nebraska I had taught: some eager to learn, some not so eager and some absolutely excited to see what each new day would bring.
Family: spouse, Warren "Bud" Crawford; children, Michael
Residency in Alaska and the Kenai Peninsula Borough: Since 1968
Education: Bachelor's from University of Nebraska, master of arts from University of Nebraska
Political and government experience: School board, 1998-present; Task Force Alaska Democracy Project, 2001; Governor's Summit on Subsistence, 2001; co-chair Alaska History Standard, 1993-1994; Balance of State Local Workforce Investment Board, 1999 to present
Business and professional positions: Secretary, Central Peninsula League of Women Voters, 1999-2001; president Alaska council for Social Studies, 1988-1990; National Board for Professional Teach-ing Standards
Service organization memberships: board member, Women's Resource and Crisis Center; board member, North Pacific Volcano Learning Center
Best way for voters to reach you: By e-mail, phone, mail, or at the grocery store and community events
Over the years, I had the very great privilege of teaching many of the best and brightest in the central peninsula communities and I believe that, by example, I have learned much from these experiences.
I have learned that being an active participant in democracy means serving on public and nonprofit boards, it means writing letters to the editor, it means speaking out on issues that impact all of our lives and it means working hard to show students and the larger community that one just can't talk about how great democracy is, one must practice it on a daily basis.
One of my great joys in life has been to watch the return of many of the graduates of the Kenai Peninsula schools to raise their own families here, to begin their work as physicians, dentists, lawyers, teachers, oil field managers and workers and active, involved members of their communities.
Our public schools have and will continue to be a beacon of hope and an opportunity to educate all about our country's great past, present and future. In the words of Thomas Jefferson: "I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education."
Let us hope that the events of the past weeks will lead to a renewal of democracy, a widening participation in our deliberations and thoughtful and thorough discourse about the options available to us. We must all be active participants in democracy; we must make our views known by voting, by serving in public office, by not only knowing the three branches of government but how to influence them for the common good of all in our country.
It has been my very great privilege to serve you for the past three years as a member of the Kenai Peninsula Borough school board. I hope that you will vote on Oct. 2 and select the candidates that you believe will best represent you and the common good of the entire Kenai Peninsula.
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