Candidates make for tough, but good choices


Posted: Friday, November 03, 2006

There are tough decisions ahead.

Should the state follow through on Gov. Frank Murkowski’s gas pipeline contract, rework it or start over? Should the education formula be changed so students at schools around the state aren’t short-changed? Should the Alaska Permanent Fund earnings be tapped to help pay for dwindling state services?

There are lots of issues facing us in the future. The biggest one right now is deciding who should take us there.

Alaskans have three viable candidates seeking that job. All three have strong, valid points for taking over the mansion from Murkowski.

Independent candidate Andrew Halcro is likable for his straight-forward thinking. His outside-the-box, to-the-point talk is smart, logical and hits the nail on the head in many cases. The problem is — and he’s the first one to say this — many feel a check mark for him is a wasted vote. Alaskans like to have more pull with their say-so — no matter how on-target a candidate’s plans may be.

Republican candidate Sarah Palin is a refreshing change from the “good ol’ boy” way of politics. Her fresh outlook may be just what Alaskans need to jump-start the state’s future, but her methods are unproven. Governing the state is a far jump from being mayor of Wasilla. Also in question is who she’ll surround herself with — a huge factor in shaping this state’s progress. If elected, she would be smart to include Halcro in her administration.

Democrat and former Gov. Tony Knowles has a lot going for him — experience, connections, a plan, and the constant reminder that he can “hit the ground running.” But with that history comes baggage. His last term was marred by a poor relationship with legislators. Only Gov. Jay Hammond vetoed more bills, but Knowles has the most overturned in the state’s history. That may not bode well for a Legislature trying to come together on so many issues.

On the other hand, his expertise will come in handy in working with big business, and his eight years also brought forth positive changes — like health care for children.

It is a tough decision, one we hope voters don’t take lightly.

When it comes down to the voting booth, be prepared. Know the issues, make an informed choice. Do you feel the gas pipeline is the most important issue for Alaska right now? Then Knowles is a good choice. Do you want practical solutions? Halcro has done his homework and worked out solutions — popular or not. Are you tired of politics as usual when it comes to Alaska issues? Then mark the box for Palin.

Three different candidates. Three good choices. Our vote goes to Palin. She may not have the experience and we expect there to be a learning curve, but we think Sarah has what it takes to make her time count to benefit Alaskans.

When it comes to the central Kenai Peninsula, voters also are in good hands. Vying to represent House District 33 are incumbent Republican Kurt Olson and Democratic challenger Pete Sprague.

Olson and Sprague are quality choices, and both have their hearts in the right place to work for what’s best for peninsula residents. Either would do well in working with other Kenai representatives in getting things accomplished.

Both feel changes are needed in education funding and ethics reform, and they want to see the gas pipeline come to fruition.

There is a slight difference in experience. Olson and Sprague have exemplary records of representing their constituents well, but Olson holds the edge in spending time working on legislation in progress to get the pipeline built. We’d like to see him return to Juneau and finish the contract.

We’re fortunate to have outstanding candidates to choose from to speak for us when it comes to Alaska’s future. You may not agree with our opinion, but it doesn’t matter what you think unless you express it in the voting booth on Tuesday. Please take advantage of your right to do so.

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