I will be voting in this year's general election on Nov. 2, and there is nothing worse than realizing you have no idea who you're voting for, and what they stand for. So, I'm writing this particular letter in commentary of the State House District 34 race.
This year we have two candidates running for office: Rep. Mike Chenault of Nikiski and challenger Glen Martin of Sterling. At first glance, the candidates seem very similar. Both run local construction companies. Their educational backgrounds are the same. They are both 33-year residents of Alaska. Both have large families. Both are active members of local organizations. They are both likable and personable guys.
So, when faced with credentials it's difficult for me to base a sound decision on these facts alone. I have taken some time to go over their political ideals in an effort to make my decision more informed. Mike Chenault is running as a Republican and Glen Martin is running nonpartisan.
Why nonpartisan? When asked, Glen states, "My ideals are conservative," and adds, "partisan politicians in this state are becoming dangerously arrogant." He believes that the current partisan structure of the state is making it continually easier for administration to pass non-popular bills. Mike Chenault has historically voted along with his Republican peers, and Glen believes that it is possible to stay on positive terms with all parties, despite his lack of affiliation to one.
Both Mike Chenault and Glen Martin are strong advocates of education. Glen also emphasizes the need for local vocational training. Both are interested in trimming government waste. Mike has stated, "There are programs in the state that for one reason or another are no longer effective and need not be funded." Glen does not necessarily support cutting government programs and says, "We need to clean house in many of the existing organizations and help them to run more effectively. ... There is no reason we have four offices doing the work of one."
They both support the gas and oil industry, and Glen encourages development of value-added products. Glen supports tax cuts for small business owners, similar to the ones that large companies in Alaska are currently receiving. Both candidates look good on paper and are supporting legitimate issues.
My main concern and the basis for my decision came in a recent radio interview with Mike Chenault. When asked if he had intentions of running for borough mayor in next year's election, he dodger the question at first. Caller after caller insisted that he respond. Finally, with obvious frustration in his voice, he answered "no" to the question.
He clearly had, and possibly still has, intentions of running for this position next year.
This is completely unacceptable. If he forfeits his position as a local representative, it is up to Randy Reudrich, head of the Alaska Republican Party, who was terminated from his position as a member of the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission for conducting partisan politics on state-paid time, and Frank Murkowski, head of the current political kingdom in Alaska, to make the decision for Chenault's replacement.
The last thing Alaska needs is another politician brought into office. When the choice is taken away from the people, and put into the hands of those in charge, our voice is significantly weakened. The fact that Mike Chenault would even entertain the idea of forfeiting his position as our elected representative is insulting. So, on Nov. 2, I will vote for the sensible candidate, Glen Martin.
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