Alaska Editorial: It's time to buckle down, work together

Posted: Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Money.

Everybody wants it. Lots of people fight over it. We just hope that's not the case in the Legislature this year.

In 2008, legislators were able to get dibs on funds for projects for their constituents. That likely will not be the case this year.

With no majority ruling, it also could make for interesting discussions. Add to that mixture a 90-day session and it could get even more intense.

We hope that's not going to happen, but Speaker Mike Chenault, of Nikiski, certainly will have to keep his cool and moderate an even-keeled House to get things done.

Likewise over in the Senate, where Gary Stevens, of Kodiak, holds the gavel.

We wonder what will be accomplished in those 90 days.

Oil prices continue to crawl below $50 a barrel, so cinching the belt is inevitable. However, in the state's best interest, we expect our legislators to put their noses to the grindstone and find a way to work together so that whatever funds are available are divided fairly and in a manner conducive to making the most with less and benefit the most people.

Bickering, finger-pointing, pouting and stalling should not be permitted. This is a time of compromise.

Gov. Sarah Palin's cooperation is of the utmost importance, and it would behoove her to lead by example. Her budget based on $74 a barrel is off to a rocky start. Concessions will have to be made in order to make ends meet, regardless of whether the state dips into its savings accounts - a whole other issue in itself.

Chenault and Stevens also must lead by example, being firm where warranted. Common sense and cool heads must prevail.

Chenault's pledge to return "pride, integrity and respect back to this institution" Tuesday were words of encouragement. But we all know actions speak louder than words.

We don't expect this to be easy. But that's not why these people accepted the positions they're in. At least we hope not. Everyone wants to leave their mark on a community in some way. By working together for the good of Alaskans, our legislators can do just that.

"It really is a time, in my estimation, to lay down our swords and pull together for all Alaskans," Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell said at the opening of the session.

We hope the legislators heed his words.



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