Sprague: Time for a change

House District 33

Posted: Friday, November 03, 2006

I am running for the Soldotna/Kenai/K-Beach State House seat because I believe that you are ready for a change in your representation in Juneau. Like many of you, I came to Alaska for the adventure, and discovered that there is no place that I would rather live. I have been an Alaska resident for more than thirty years.

After working as a commercial fisherman for several years, I began a career in the post office in Soldotna. Following my retirement, I was elected to the Soldotna City Council, and then to the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve you. I now wish to serve as your representative in Juneau.

I have a demonstrated and proven ability to lead, to build consensus among diverse groups, and to stand up for my beliefs. I have served as Assembly president for two years, and as president of the Alaska Municipal League. I believe that my experience has given me a deep understanding of the needs of our district, as well as a broad statewide perspective.

The next legislature has serious issues to address. The gas pipeline and ethics reform are two that immediately come to mind. I’m positive that we will come to agreement on the initial gas line contract. However, there are several conditions that I believe must be in the proposed plan. The state should not be a minority owner of the pipeline. The state should take its royalties in cash, not in gas. The gas line contract must be separate from any oil contracts. There must be benchmarks for progress on the construction of the line. There must be Alaska hire provisions. The state must have the authority to take back the leases to the gas fields if the pipeline isn’t built within the time set forward in the contract. Finally there MUST be a spur line built to Southcentral Alaska!

Momentum for ethics reform is building. Lobbyists, “consulting fees”, improper conduct, and the FBI investigation of legislators have all been front-page news of late. I believe that when an elected official is doing the public’s business, and spending the public’s money, they MUST have the public’s trust.

An elected official’s actions must be above board, and their conduct must be beyond reproach. The reality is that it really isn’t, and shouldn’t be, that difficult set the bar high enough to insure good standards of conduct while in office.

In August, Alaskans voted to tighten campaign finance laws. This is a good first step, however, I believe that we need to do more! The legislature needs to tighten the rules regarding what its members are allowed to earn as “consultants,” as well as to clearly define what their job descriptions are. In addition, the limits of substantial financial interest need to be strictly defined. We must make the rules as black and white as possible to avoid even the perception that there is wrongdoing.

While on the Assembly, I introduced two ordinances that addressed conflict of interest and ethics issues. One ordinance clearly established when an assembly member had a conflict; the other stated that assembly members couldn’t accept employment with the borough until at least one year after leaving office. Taking the gray areas out of ethical issues makes the legislative process more open and more transparent. I will work to restore the public’s trust when in Juneau.

My record is clear:

I have worked to place public service above politics.

I have worked to address conflict of interest and ethics issues.

I have worked to fund and provide for quality education.

I have worked to keep spending under control.

I have worked to encourage responsible economic development.

When elected to serve you in Juneau, I will work to bring about positive change, to place public service above politics just as I have in my nine years of local government service. I have worked and will continue to work for you.

It is time for a change, a change for the better.

I ask for your support, and your vote, on November 7.

Thank you.

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