All politics are local -- and important

Posted: Sunday, September 26, 2010

There's an upcoming election, the results of which will have a very significant impact on our day to day lives here on the Kenai Peninsula.

No, it's not the brewing battle for a seat in the U.S. Senate or the contest to become Alaska's governor. Yes, those races, to be decided Nov. 2, are important are important.

But on Oct. 5, just over a week away, Peninsula voters will go to the polls to select three new members of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly. We'll also have the opportunity to fundamentally change the way our borough government functions, with a ballot proposition that asks whether a borough manager should be hired to take over some of the mayor's duties.

Voters will be asked to re-elect three long-term school board members, and approve bonds to repair school roofs across the district.

Voters in Soldotna will elect two new council members and vote on a proposition to issue bonds to fund the library expansion, while voters in Kenai will pick a pair of council members as well as choose between the incumbent and a challenger for mayor.

And all across the peninsula, voters will be asked to pick from a slate of candidates to serve on service area boards.

These may not be the races getting the most attention at the moment, but in many ways, they are the most important. These candidates are the ones who will decide on policy and financial matters closest to home.

They'll set property tax rates, and allocate that money. They'll decide how best to balance development and sustainability. They'll decide which roads should be paved, or where stop signs or traffic lights should go. They'll set academic standards for our children. They may be asked to examine issues such as hospital governance and borough government structure.

Over the next week, take the time to ask the candidates who want to represent you what they think on the issues important to you. Watch the Clarion for coverage of the election, as well as questionnaire answers and op-ed pieces submitted by the candidates. Make sure their values and priorities reflect your vision of our community.

Sure, it's only a municipal election, but the results of the Oct. 5 vote will leave a lasting impression on the Kenai Peninsula.

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