When you step into that voting booth on Aug. 18. and Nov. 3, you should ask yourself just these two questions: “Why am I voting for this individual?” and “Why does it matter?” You might already be rolling your eyes and going, “John, I’ve taken a history class; I know the importance of voting and the weight it has on shaping our local Democracy.” Well, if you say that word for word I might be concerned for your ego. But with the current implementation of the binding-caucus and the considered elements of your state senators being held hostage via a shortened office budget, salaries cut for additional staff, plucked from important committees, and the literal vote cast by the elected official, the question of “why does it matter?” becomes a little bit more complicated.
Nothing generic was ever great; I understand that. One might theoretically appreciate innovative techniques used to fast-track happiness to the people of Alaska within a short three-month window of policy making. However, when an elected official becomes attacked behind closed doors by his or her colleagues and is “demoted” from their position on a committee, not only is that an insult to the legislator, but it is just as hurtful to the thousands of hard working men and women that took the time out of their day to go to the polls and vote for the best individual to perform the task of being a public servant.
Committees that are specialized for our unique state government entail a group of members that have a profound interest for the subject at hand, increasing the yield of robust and extensive policy. I’m a supporter for term-limits. It’s one of the most politically neutral subjects that you can probably discuss with your neighbor today, but at the same token I understand and applaud the knee-deep research and passion that it takes to be associated with a specific committee — which leads to an additional politically neutral subject, which is that it should disgust the voter to see the lawmakers they elected to be stripped of a power that was originally associated with their skill sets for simply disagreeing with the consensus provided by the binding-caucus. The surrounding punishments of pushing out budgets for staff, and other office resources are of equal tragedy.
We have many issues, even if it may not look like it on the surface. I fervently believe that the content corruption wielded by certain legislators is of the highest tier of changes we need to make in the legislature. Before voting for anyone, even dog-catchers, I hope that we the people consider our mental reservations for Juneau, including why legislators could not only shrink our Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD), but that they could do it so easily, with little to no public consent.
My name’s going to be on the ballot on Aug. 18. I hope that you consider my qualities for well-rounded representation for Homer and the rest of our beautiful district. I hope you recognize that I will never steal from you like some of your other legislators have done so casually, and that when I write careful and innovative legislation that is approved by our community, I won’t do it with the determination of being misunderstood.