Children should be Alaska's top priority! As a School Board member, I think anyone who has worked with me knows this is where my heart is.
Children are our future, but they are also foundational to the quality of life we lead today. School Boards, Assemblies, City Councils and organizations across this state have passed resolutions asking the State of Alaska to declare children their top priority; their education, their health, their safety and their future. When we provide this structure for our children we improve the stability and the quality of the lives of each of the citizens of our state, regardless of our ages.
The education we make available determines the kind of people that govern us, that provide us with services that maintain our environment, that manage our resources.
The health system that we offer our little ones brings better medical care to all of us. The methods that improve their safety improve ours. Providing a solid fiscal plan for the future of our families only enhances the stability of the latter years of our lives.
This is not just a governmental issue to me. It is very personal. Somehow, my life has always been blessed with children. My husband, Rod, and I came to Alaska in 1963 with a little girl just a year old.
By Christmas we were the foster parents of another daughter we would someday be able to adopt. Spring that year brought a newborn and a teenager the first of a batch of teens including the grandsons we are raising 45 years later. We had five children in our family, plus extras, most of who lived with us in the summers. Now we raise our two boys who were orphaned a few years ago.
Our family has a rich diversity of ethnicities, with some of our grandchildren being Ethiopian, Alaska Native and African American. We also have in our family the challenges of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, Autism and other neurological disorders.
Over half of our 13 grandchildren are adopted or ours as a result of adoption. So we are familiar with the needs that many of the children of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District bring to our schools. Sometimes we see those children as disadvantaged, but I would choose to see them as potentially secure, capable citizens of our state, the same way I see my family.
The responsibility to meet the needs of our children is huge. The past four years have been challenging, sometimes difficult and discouraging, but also incredibly fulfilling. I have treasured working with the people who have our children's future as their goal.
To have the privilege of continuing that work would be an honor. But more important than retaining my seat is the continuation of the effort to give children their proper place in our society.
No matter the results of the upcoming election, I will continue my support for Alaskans making children our top priority.
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