Alaska House District 31 candidate Kelly Cooper. (Photo by Tim Steinberg)

Alaska House District 31 candidate Kelly Cooper. (Photo by Tim Steinberg)

Candidate Point of View: Kelly Cooper

I want to take a moment and set aside all the noise from this campaign. I know you’re tired of all the spin, campaign rhetoric and mailers. There’s so much misinformation, it feels impossible to know what’s true. This election has become about labels and red versus blue. I just don’t buy it.

While Alaska is the largest state, we certainly are small in population and we’re all connected. Politics in our state are still local politics. It doesn’t matter where you fall on the political spectrum, we all want the same things for our families. We want roads maintained in the winter, safe communities for our families, good hospitals and great schools. Here are a few of the things I have accomplished, always working together with other assembly members, staff and administration.

We made public testimony available to constituents on-site in Homer and Seward rather than having to drive to Soldotna. When COVID-19 required us to meet remotely, we discovered the Zoom format increased access to meetings. When the assembly chambers open at the end of the year for in-person meetings, residents will still be able to participate via Zoom rather than make the long drive to attend in person.

When constituents approached me about creating the South Peninsula Athletic & Recreation Center (SPARC), we worked with the borough, school district and soccer organization to create a public/private partnership by leasing borough land to the organization while they fundraised and built the complex.

I’ve continued to support the initiative to exempt sales tax on nonprepared food because you shouldn’t have to pay sales tax when feeding your family.

When the road from Cooper Landing to Hope was at risk of not having quality emergency response, we created a service area that would provide more volunteers, equipment, and maintain safety along that dangerous stretch of road.

When the governor’s budget zeroed out funding for Civil Air Patrol, we worked with the legislature’s finance committee to get funding restored so we would continue to have timely search and rescue operations.

With the Homer City Mayor’s discovery of a discrepancy in the extension surcharge tariff, we partnered with the City of Homer and Kachemak City to intervene in a proposed tariff that would have significantly raised natural gas rates for homeowners and businesses for 30 years or more.

When city businesses that pay borough sales tax were prohibited from applying for borough CARES Act funds, I made sure cities got their fair share to accommodate these businesses.

We funded senior citizen centers in Homer, Anchor Point and Ninilchik with additional CARES Act grants to assist with costs associated with reopening.

I’ve supported quality education and appropriate funding for our schools, kids and community since day one. Homer High School is a perfect example of how well our kids are doing. They test above state and national averages on SAT and AP exams, win sports championships, and pursue creative endeavors. Our schools are the heartbeat of each community in the borough and our kids deserve great teachers and appropriate class sizes.

Serving in public office isn’t about ego. It’s not a one-woman show. You have to be willing to work together to get things done. The State of Alaska is facing a $2 billion deficit and our Permanent Fund needs to be protected. The next few years aren’t going to be easy, nor is there a silver bullet solution. We need representation that will get in there, roll up her sleeves and get to work.

I’m asking you to vote for me, Kelly Cooper, to serve as your District 31 representative.

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