Process allows for disagreement when groups have strong beliefs

Letter to the Editor

Posted: Friday, November 02, 2007

Sunday morning, looking for inspiration on a local radio station, I heard instead an ad by ACT speaking of the whining of candidates who were elected by their districts in a controversial election.

I am one of those candidates. I am on the Board of Education, but I am not speaking for them. I am speaking only for myself. I do not believe I have ever whined about the situation I am in. In fact I have been deliberately silent on the issue out of respect for the election process and the differing beliefs of voters. That respect has not been reciprocated and the level of disrespect and contempt that is being directed to those of us in this position has compelled me to speak out.

Our ethics are questioned, our integrity is challenged, and we are being portrayed as people with no respect for the rights of voters. Yet I am not hearing a comment about the many people who voted for us and the validity of their vote.

When I first ran for this seat on the school board, I made a commitment to be a voice for the people of District 9 and also to bring back to them a voice from the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District. I also brought a heart for the children throughout our District, and I resolved to do everything in my power to make sure every child in the Kenai Peninsula Borough had the opportunity for an equitable and excellent education.

I made it my resolve to do the best job I could to educate others of like concerns on the specific needs of our small and remote schools, and to go to those communities and encourage the parents, the students, the staff and other community members to come and personally speak their concerns to the board itself. I learned of the need to work with the state Legislature to get the funding necessary to provide this education and to redress the long-term effects of unfair funding for our area. I have advocated for declaring children our state's top priority. This is the extent of the power I have sought.

I have seen the same dedication and commitment to their communities and borough by the others whose motives are questioned. I admit that as a gray-haired grandmother, an elder and a board member I have been accustomed to respect. But I also have given it.

For my part it is painful to be treated this way, and it saddens me to see the very personal and hurtful attacks being brought against organizations and people of quality whom I esteem.

The democratic process allows for disagreement. It could be done with respect and courtesy. There are people on both sides who are passionate about their beliefs. We should applaud that enthusiasm. When this is settled, we should be able to continue to live and work together. Let's make that possible.

Sunni Hilts

Seldovia



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