Candidate views: Margaret Gilman, Assembly District 2, Kenai

Borough faces many challenges

Posted: Sunday, September 25, 2005

The Kenai Peninsula Borough is a wonderful place to work and raise a family. We have an abundance of natural beauty surrounding us which we must protect. Our economy continues to grow and diversify. We have tremendous schools throughout the borough which meet individual students' needs as well as answer the educational priorities of their particular communities.

The best part about the Kenai Peninsula is that even with the modern conveniences we enjoy, we still have the "small town feel" which allows us to see familiar faces every time we're in a store, at school, or picking up the mail. The borough is a large community and it's important that decisions are made in the best interest of all citizens.

I chose to run for the assembly because I wanted to contribute my expertise and knowledge toward moving borough government into the future. This election will produce a new mayor and possibly new assembly people. This change provides an opportunity for growth and the ability to develop policies which will have long lasting benefits.

Talks are currently under way for a natural gas pipeline to be built. It is imperative that the borough leaders lobby for a spur from that pipeline into Nikiski. This spur would help with the gas supply problem on the peninsula, provide gas for Southcentral Alaska and involve a tremendous boost to our economy.

The latest ISER report determined that the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is being shortchanged in state funding to the tune of almost $10 million dollars per year as a result of an incorrect area cost differential. This is money which is not going into our local classrooms. The borough must continue to take a strong stand in this effort to fight for what is owed our taxpayers and students.

The availability of, and ability to pay for, health care is a problem that affects every single borough resident. The cities, the borough, and school district are forced to spend an ever increasing amount to meet the health care needs of their current and retired employees. Veterans, the elderly, children and the poor are often faced with unmet medical needs or unpaid medical bills which can cause financial ruin. The Kenai Peninsula Borough should join a grass roots effort calling on Congress to provide a solution to health care problems which so deeply impact our communities.

Additionally, the borough assembly must have consistency in its tax policy with a fair distribution between sales and property taxes. Businesses and individuals need this in order to make an investment in the Kenai Peninsula.

It is a pleasure to serve on the school board and I look forward to the opportunity to serve the citizens of Kenai as an assembly member. I would appreciate your vote on October 4.

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