Mike Szymanski, Senate District E Democrat

Posted: Wednesday, November 01, 2000

Why vote for Mike Szymanski instead of Jerry Ward? There are big differences between us. We are different not only on our stand on important issues, but also on our approach to working with people.

I support the public's right to vote on subsistence. I trust Alaskans to make a good decision. Jerry Ward does not. Jerry Ward was one of the key legislative votes that blocked you from having a chance to vote on subsistence. As a result, the federal government is reclaiming management authority over fish and game resources in two-thirds of Alaska.

Name: Mike Szymanski

Candidate for: Senate District E

Age: 54

Occupation: Fisheries business manager

Family: Children, Jason and Justin

Education: East Anchorage High School, 1962-66, GED; University of Alaska, 1966-68, associates degree electronic technology; advanced personnel management practices, labor relations, 1976; effective labor relations negotiation, 1977.

Organizations and special interests: Decorated Vietnam veteran; member, Elks Club; life member, VFW; Kenai Moose Lodge, Nikiski Chamber of Commerce, Anchorage Snowmachine Club. Special interests include all activities involving my family, snowmachining, skiing, bird watching, gardening, scuba diving.

Previously held elected office and experience: 1983-86, served in Alaska House of Representatives; 1987-90, served in Alaska Senate; congressional aide, U.S. Senate; member, State Jobs Training Council; president, Eldon-Klatt Road Community Council; member, Klatt Road School Development Advisory Council

Expected cost of campaign: $135,000

Best way for voters to reach me: Campaign phone, 283-2253; e-mail, mikeszymanski@acsalaska.net

Alaska needs a frugal and cost-conscious state government, but I support increased funding for the Department of Fish and Game. Jerry Ward voted to slash the budget for this department. These cuts have severely hampered Alaska's ability to manage sport, commercial and subsistence fishing and have restricted the public process. Alaska needs good science and consistent, professional management of fisheries -- as well as public input -- to have any chance of balancing the competing demands for this resource.

We cannot responsibly manage our resources if we've gutted the Department of Fish and Game, not unless we're content to leave most of Alaska under federal management. That's not what I want.

I am proud of my accomplishments when I represented North Kenai between 1985 and 1990. I worked closely with the North Kenai community and with local government. To-gether we were able to develop roads on the peninsula and obtain full funding for road maintenance.

But that kind of cooperation is history! According to Kenai Mayor John Williams, Jerry Ward has "never set foot in City Hall." During Ward's term in the Senate, road maintenance funding has been cut. You can feel the deterioration every time you drive out the North Road.

I support lowering the blood alcohol limit from .10 to .08 for those stopped for drinking while driving. Jerry Ward does not. As chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, Jerry Ward refused for two years to hold any hearings on legislation to adopt the .08 standard in Alaska. I want to protect Alaska's sober drivers. Who is Jerry Ward trying to protect by killing this legislation?

My campaign has been supported by contributions from more than 600 different individuals and groups. I am supported by Republi-cans, Democrats and hundreds of independent voters.

Jerry Ward has, at last report, received barely 200 individual contributions and has been forced to dump $70,000 of his own money into his campaign just to stay in the race.

I want to go to Juneau to get Alaskans working together. I will be a senator who will work with our local governments, who will answer your calls. I wilI be able to work with the congressional delegation, the administration and the Legislature for the common good. Unlike my opponent, who publicly lambasted Sen. Stevens on the Senate floor, I don't think Ted Stevens is an embarrassment to Alaska. I want to help solve our problems, not be the problem.

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