America looks to Alaska as an example of wilderness and freedom. The unspoiled wild and scenic forests and rivers are a treasure in the minds of many Americans. The feeling that the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge belongs to everybody goes beyond the knowledge that the thousands of birds migrate to ANWR from all over America. The purity of the wilderness is our greatest long-term asset for a clean tourist industry, to provide employment for Alaskans far into the future.
The ideal of individual liberty is also a comfort to many Americans, and they look to Alaska as one of the last places where the people are truly free. Removing income and sales taxes are examples, but the Alaska Permanent Fund dividend really captures the imagination of people who believe in equality. This "sharing of the land" by investing oil money into alternative technologies, and dividing the interest equally among all Alaskans, can be copied by the other states to the benefit of their own people.
The wilderness and the Alaskan dividend are threatened by some of our own elected officials. The lack of respect for the 83 percent of the people who voted not to cut the dividend, by some in the Alaska Legislature, means it is time for new candidates to run for office. Also, the redistricting opens opportunities for replacing elected officials who have lost touch with the people.
Now is the time for all good citizens to consider running for office yourself or supporting new candidates. The filing deadline is June 1 by 5 p.m. for state and federal office. There are six ballot status parties. You can run as a Democrat, Republican, Green, Libertarian, Republican Moderate, or Alaskan Independence Party. A simple hand-out flyer stating your positions, and attending the equal time debates and interviews can reach the voters. If you start with common sense principles, and use the help of staff provided if elected, you can be a good legislator, even if you don't know all the details now.
Alaska needs good candidates to raise issues, like good schools and public safety, and to protect the dividend. These ideals of protecting essential services and the dividend, are just as important as protecting the Alaskan wilderness. This Alaskan wilderness and liberty is a precious dream for America.
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