Hal Smalley: District 33 Democrat
"What can we do better as the state of Alaska than as individuals, communities, cities or boroughs?" This should be the underlying question for our decisions as legislators. There are certain constitutional mandates, but the challenge is how to best accomplish these. Contrary to what one might hear, there is not one right way to do government. I believe, however, that one of the basic steps has to be coming to the table with ideas, but also with an openness to learn more and to work toward goals we have in common.
Last week, as rains turned to floods, rivers were rising and roads were disappearing, peninsula residents responded in typical and heroic ways. Near one community, neighbors worked side-by-side, building a makeshift footbridge and arranging for deliveries of food and medicine. Churches, schools and senior centers were used as shelters. In Alaska fashion, people rallied to do whatever they could do to help, wherever they were.
Amidst this, we saw our government (municipal and the Kenai Peninsula Borough) using their trained teams to assess the situation in order to make recommendations to the state and federal governments. The expertise of business and community members is an integral part of this team process. Meanwhile, borough and state highway crews and troopers have responded to the emergency.
"What can we do better as the Kenai Peninsula Borough or the state of Alaska?" When the roads are washed out and lives are in danger, it is a time when we can come to a consensus about the importance of certain aspects of our government. When the problem gets larger and more extensive than what individuals or communities can handle, we can see the relevance of government and how it connects with our lives.
While I am sure there is always room for improvement, this year's flood response is a good example of one of the things that most of us can agree about the role of government. There are things we do better as a community on the whole. Borough and state government can be a way of pooling and sharing our resources. Similarly, when the earthquake struck in 1964, the federal government's resources were available and Alaskans were willing and eager to receive the needed help.
These are just a couple of examples of ways that government can work for the people. We need to continually keep the bigger picture in mind as we work through the details of the finances of our state. We need to elect people who will represent all our citizens.
Alaska's government, yours and mine, can be more accessible and affordable. I'm committed to working toward this goal and have a record of leadership and experience. I will be a strong voice for the concerns of our district, the peninsula and state.
I encourage you to review the Official Election Guide and make sure you vote on Nov. 5.
Kelly Wolf: District 33 Republican
Over the next few years the Legislature will be faced with making some tough decisions concerning cuts in government spending and of course revenue opportunities or taxes.
The reason I decided to run for public office is because I believe that special interest groups are trying to sway government toward their agendas. I understand that cutting government administration means jobs. The location of these cuts is where I believe we need sound management, strong ability to hold agencies accountable.
The question many others and I have is: Why are we being overwhelmed by red tape when it comes to experiencing the quality of life in Alaska?
It's because big government bureaucracy hampers development of our resources -- fishing, oil, timber, mining and tourism. All relate directly to jobs and families.
Can we develop these resources successfully and in environmentally friendly ways? Yes, but instead, we continue to buy products from foreign countries without a thought of what the proceeds are being used to fund.
I believe a healthy economy generates revenue. Just ask any retailer, when the economy slumps so do sales along with taxes. This revenue funds government priorities, education in the classrooms and public safety, i.e., roads and state troopers.
Now is the time we need to take action with fresh ideas in the next Legislature that will be working with a new governor to hold government accountable. That's why I believe we need leadership in the Legislature that has practical knowledge of what the average Alaskan has to do in order to earn a living and enjoy the quality of life that we all want.
We need people who can make tough choices and have the ability to work with others to restore that trust. While it was one of my former high school teachers that coined the phrase "A politician represents special interests while a political leader represents the people," I vow to always represent the people first and stand the high ground against those special interest groups that wish to take away our quality of life that we Alaskans hold dear to our hearts.
So, I, on record, state that I, Kelly Wolf, Republican candidate for State House, will work for the people of District 33 first and foremost to fully fund public safety. I will work to redevelop the funding formula to better fund education in the classrooms, and I will fight to protect the dividend for all Alaskans so as they may enjoy the quality of life that we desire to have in Alaska.
I ask that on Nov. 5 you vote to send a WOLF to Juneau for the Kenai Peninsula.
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