I first moved to the Kenai in 1975 as a teenager with my parents, graduating from Kenai Central High school in 1979. I experienced the Kenai Peninsula growth through the boom after the pipeline days. I started working in the construction industry right out of high school. Beginning my education from the university of hard knocks early in life as a single parent with a special needs son, who helped teach me a lot about people, love, and compassion and yes tenacity. Leaving Alaska for a few years in the ’80s I met my lovely wife and returned to the Kenai Peninsula in 1990 were we have made it our home ever sense.
Having four children who have all attended Kenai Peninsula schools I’ve been self-employed most of my adult life. It was not until ten years ago when started a nonprofit organization, did I get my first experience in politics. Thinking that starting an organization would give youth and opportunity to benefit all fishery groups, as they learn to be better stewards of the environment. While they develop job skills as they work on some of Alaska’s most popular salmon streams would be a well-received program, was to say the least a naive conclusion that still surprises me today.
As agencies, individuals and local leaders shunned the idea and placed labels on the program and myself. Only two elected leaders stepped forward to lend real support for the program in its early days. Today its consider one of the most successful restoration programs in the nation, Being named NOAA’s environmental hero and receiving numerous awards and presidential acknowledgements. It all pales in comparison to the reward of working collectively to assemble a program each summer, so area youth can be involved in a summer job that promotes stewardship and benefits the fishing industries of Cook Inlet to the extent this program has. It was this disconnect between government and the people that it was suppose to represent that four years ago placed me in the House of Representatives as district 33’s state representative. Consider the underdog I felt an elected official was representative of the people who was hired to work for the people not special interest.
It was after one term in office that I quickly discovered that some things can’t be fixed and as my children asked me not to run again my number one responsibility be came very clear. Today as a dad and at home I wish to use my experience and education from the University of Hard Knocks to serve the residents of the Kenai Peninsula. This is my home and the place I intend to stay. I’m often called tactless because of my drive, strong will and out spoken ness I sometimes think of a quote from Abraham Lincoln who once said:
“If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business. I do the very best I know how the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what’s said against me won’t amount to anything.”
I believe government needs leadership and transparency which represents the people. Recognizing that when ever people gather they may not always agree with each other but our form of government is still one of the best in the world. Making the decision to represent the public as an elected individual is a hard choice that is not for everyone as it requires dedication, commitment and a thick skin. But once elected is I believe strongly that one must make the decision of being a statesmen as a representative of the people or a politician a representative of special interest.
If elected I will continue to listen the people and work for them no matter how thorny the issues are. As I commit to you to do my best to be straight forward as a representative of the people because, I in a believe government for the people by the people. It was is these freedoms that veterans of past made the ultimate sacrifice and why today our sons and daughter are in a foreign land protecting our rights and freedoms. I ask only one thing “please show your honor to all of them by getting out and voting on Oct. 3, 2006.”
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