Incumbents offer best opportunity for state's future

Posted: Sunday, October 31, 2004

The long campaign season is almost over. It's time for voters to take what they've heard and read and make some tough decisions.

Before marking ballots Tuesday, voters need to ask themselves these questions when choosing national and state leaders: Which candidate holds the most potential to do the most good for Alaska and Alaskans? Which candidate holds the most potential to do the most good for the Kenai Peninsula and its residents?

Here's how we've answered that question.

U. S. President: Vote George W. Bush.

President Bush has presided over the United States in some of its most difficult times primarily the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The nation is now embroiled in a controversial war in Iraq. While the buck certainly stops at Bush's desk as president, it is not true that all the nation's ills can or should be laid at his feet.

Times are tough; they will get a lot tougher if the nation changes directions now with a new president. On important issues such as national security and economic development, Bush is the best choice for president. The opening of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas development an issue near and dear to most Alaskans does not stand a chance under a different president.

U.S. Senator: Vote Lisa Murkowski.

Alaska is fortunate that it has two quality and qualified candidates in Lisa Murkowski and former Gov. Tony Knowles running for this key position. While Murkowski's appointment to the seat by her governor-father still rankles many Alaskans, she has done a credible job and earned the respect of Alaskans. She will give the state the better team and the stronger voice in Washington, D.C.

U.S. Representative: Vote Don Young.

The proof that Young works hard for Alaska is seen in his competition; for all practical purposes, he has none.

State Senate District Q: Vote Tom Wagoner.

While the idea of nonpartisans being elected to office is appealing, as a member of the Senate majority, Wagoner has a better opportunity than his opponent to influence legislation for the good of the state and the Kenai Peninsula.

State Senate District R: Vote Gary Stevens.

Why fire someone who is doing a good job? Stevens, who has served the public in a variety of positions mayor of the city of Kodiak, mayor of the Kodiak Island borough and president of the Kodiak school district, as well as in the Alaska House and Senate has done a good job. He knows the issues and he knows Alaskans. It's in the best interest of district residents and the state to keep Stevens in the Senate.

House District 33: Vote Kurt Olson.

Kelly Wolf's decision not to run for re-election creates a great opportunity for District 33. Both candidates running for this House seat Kurt Olson and Hal Smalley represent a vast improvement over their predecessor. Both Olson and Smalley are longtime Alaskans with a record of service to the community. Both are nice guys who will work hard for the district. But when we ask the question Which candidate holds the most potential to do the most good for the Kenai Peninsula and District 33 residents? our answer is Olson. As a member of the party in power, he has the better chance to make things happen for the district and the state.

House District 34: Vote Mike Chenault.

Experience does matter. Candidates should have some record of public service before ending up in a legislative hot seat. Chenault's opponent has none. Chenault's experience in serving on the school board and as a legislator make him the better choice to get things done on behalf of the state and district.

House District 35: Vote Paul Seaton.

Incumbent Paul Seaton faces credible challenges by Deb Germano, currently the president of the school board, and nonpartisan Mike Heimbuch. Seaton's time in the Legislature and his knowledge of fisheries, which is crucial in the district, make him the best choice for the state and district. Seaton has worked hard for the district and deserves the opportunity to continue doing so.

As always, it doesn't matter whether you agree with us. What is important is you take your privilege to vote seriously and make your voice heard Tuesday.

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