Updated: 33 Some minutes ago Released: 33 Some minutes ago
As an Alaskan born and raised businessman, I have worked hard to build lasting relationships in the Alaskan business community. Leveraging relationships and collaboration allows you to be agile, more responsive to changing market conditions, and grow stronger as a unit. I have watched with concern as national politics has become more and more rooted in rhetoric and less in doing the work to support economic growth, jobs and other issues that impact people’s lives every day.
I brag to friends in the Lower 48 that what makes Alaska strong is that we are Alaskan first. In second place are political parties. We don’t have the stagnation that we experience in our country’s capital. And we cannot afford to let these partisan deadlocks find their way into Alaskan politics. Fortunately, for the most part, our state’s legislatures are effective and moving the state forward. An example of this is my representative and Senate nominee, Kelly Merrick.
Kelly Merrick represents common sense leadership. I have observed the legislature over the past few years and appreciate elected officials who understand the power of cooperation and communication and put aside the partisan bickering. Alaska is unique in its bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives, and Rep. Kelly Merrick is part of that coalition. She is co-chair of the House Finance Committee, a powerful committee in the Legislature, and has used this position to invest in projects of state and national importance while benefiting her Eagle River district. For example, she made sure Alaska provided appropriate dollars to leverage available federal funds for strategic investments like the Port of Alaska. From a state perspective, this is just common sense — use state funds to raise available federal dollars to keep Alaska and its residents safer.
Every year, legislators debate whether and where more money should be spent. With bipartisan leadership from people who want to do what is best for Alaska, the legislature has managed to keep the budget under control and fund essential services without raising taxes. Businesses need that kind of tax policy — and stability — as we work to attract more investment and grow Alaska. At the same time, we need adequate funding for schools and the university system so that we have a skilled and prepared workforce. These actions score no points for either political side, only for Alaska and its people.
I understand that individuals are elected by identifying themselves as either Republicans, Democrats, or independent candidates, but once elected and taking on the responsibility of representing us, they must first consider themselves Alaskans. Lawmakers must work together as a cooperative group to find common ground while keeping the interests of their constituents in mind.
Kelly Merrick works with everyone to advance the needs of the state and its constituents. Let’s keep Alaska on a stable tax path with predictable funding for the essential services stipulated in Alaska’s constitution – no more taxes. This election season, support candidates who champion good politics and productive partnerships and understand that decisions made now will affect Alaskans long into the future.
John Sims is President of Enstar Natural Gas Co.; He lives in Eagle River. .
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