It's about what's right for the people, not party

Letter to the editor

Posted: Sunday, February 01, 2004

I read Rudy Ruedrich's letter to the editor and I had to reply. It has been a very long time in Alaska politics since I have seen a politician do what is right for the state, not what is right for the party. All Rudy talks about is party politics. Well, Rudy, in case you haven't looked lately, most of the people in this state are registered as independents. Numbers mean nothing, as far as what party you belong to, unless you follow that party line as far as your votes go in the Legislature. Years ago we had statesman in politics that honestly cared about their state and the people who lived in it. Now it's all about the party and the money they give you to get re-elected. I haven't seen what I would call a statesman in a very long time.

Bill Egan, Oral Freeman, John Butrovitch, Bill Ray and, much to my surprise, Bruce Weyhrauch are great examples of people that try their best to do the will of the people, not the party. I apologize for not remembering his name, but that fellow that stood up to the party and got chastised for it over the Longevity Bonus is a classic example of politics as usual. When the GOP and the DNC can put party politics aside and do the will of the people, maybe my faith will be renewed. I honestly don't think there are enough people in that hallowed hall with the guts to make an honest decision on their own to fix this state's problems. You are all too busy worrying about being re-elected to honestly vote your conscience. If you can't do the will of the people, then get out and let some people in who will. Party politics is killing this state. There is a big train wreck coming and all you people do is hope it happens to someone else after you are gone.

Nick Begich made a bold statement when he said he didn't trust this Legislature to fix the state's budget gap. Good for you, Nick. You remind me of your father. Again, a statesman, not a politician. If you all don't get the drift of what I am saying, then look back at what we had and what we have now in our Legislature.

A terrific history teacher once told me "You can't move forward, until you look at where you have been. If you don't, you are doomed to make the same mistake again." If the people of this great state don't recognize what I am saying and correct it at the ballot box, then we are going to suffer the same "party politics" as usual for a long time. Don't let the likes of Rudy and company dictate who will make those decisions for you. As all of you who know me know, I lean to the conservative side. But I get mad when a party dictates who and what happens to me and mine. The people that forged my thinking as a child taught me better than that. My uncle John always taught me to vote for the man, not the party. It seems that we need a few more people like that around. If this letter got a few of you "elected officials" mad, terrific - that's what I intended. After all, you can't buy or sell me. I'm my own person. Think what it would be like if you were.

John Niemi


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