Mike Navarre: Education our top responsibility

I have been honored to serve as Kenai Peninsula Borough mayor for the last three years.  I have received a great deal of support and encouragement since I announced my plans to seek re-election and greatly appreciate all of the support — thank you.
These past three years as mayor have gone by quickly and, for the most part, very smoothly. I’ve approached the job and responsibilities as I outlined during the 2011 campaign with strong administrative oversight, responsible budget and financial management, and an open door policy.  
I’ve built a strong administrative team to help manage the challenges and issues that have come up and we’ve been responsive and attentive to concerns expressed from residents throughout the Kenai Peninsula.  In addition to the normal responsibilities of administering local government and the budget, we’ve also tackled other issues of importance, including pursuing completion of our municipal land entitlement, advancing efforts on the North Road extension, improving our health care infrastructure, managing many capital projects, and maintaining and improving our school facilities. We’ve also successfully dealt with numerous natural disasters, such as flooding, snow storms, wind storms and most recently the Funny River fire.  
My administration also has initiated efficiency efforts in every department and service area, challenging all employees to look for ways to save taxpayer dollars while delivering government services, and we’re seeing significant results and savings.
My goals and priorities will not change significantly over the next three years. Here are the areas where I will focus the most attention:
• Education is our most important responsibility. Providing a good education for our children equips them with the knowledge and skills needed to seize opportunities and achieve success throughout their lives.  
• Maintaining and improving our borough-owned roads are, and will remain, priorities.  Roads are a critical part of our infrastructure and directly impact our residents.
• Health care costs are constantly increasing and have many direct and indirect impacts to residents. The cost of health care has direct impacts to personal and family budgets. Indirect impacts include access to health care and the increasing expense in both public and private sector budgets, which can lead to a loss of jobs, an increase in taxes … or both.   
• The LNG and Gas Line project will significantly impact the Kenai Peninsula Borough and residents. It will be important to identify and plan for those impacts, as well as the economic opportunities and challenges that will accompany such a large project.
I encourage you to examine my record as mayor from 1996-99 and over the last three years.  My record reflects conservative and responsible budget management, strong administrative oversight, an open door policy and a good working relationship with the Borough Assembly and borough residents.
I have the experience, energy and commitment to tackle the issues and challenges the Kenai Peninsula Borough will face over the next several years and will dedicate myself, as mayor, to responsible management of our borough government.
The Kenai Peninsula is a great place to live, work and to raise our families. However, we continue to face economic, education, public safety and solid waste management issues, multiple issues with our hospitals and health care, as well as the continued need to improve and maintain roads.
 With your help and a responsible approach, together we’ll keep the Kenai Peninsula Borough great.
Thank you for reading this article. I would appreciate your vote on Oct. 7.

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