Governor should try Kwethluk for a month

Posted: Monday, June 23, 2003

Due to the cuts being made all through Alaska, I think it is time for our governor to experience life in rural Alaska. He should try living in Kwethluk for a month. Kwethluk is trying to upgrade from well water and honey buckets to running water and sewer. It will be years before the installation of pipes and toilets in each house is complete. Would our governor like to stay with my mother and experience the wonderful lifestyle and the riches my mother has? Riches not in monetary value; but in native food, riches he is not used to. Native food that is essential in Kwethluk.

I am sure the governor would be appalled at that thought, and even more appalled at the cost of the necessities that are used in Kwethluk. Necessities such as electricity, phone, food and money to wash clothes at the Laundromat. (Sorry, honorable governor, there are no dry cleaning facilities to take care of your suits).

My mother receives just about $1,000 per month in Social Security benefits and the longevity bonus check. Gas to hunt/fish $200, electricity $175, phone $40, fuel $180 leaves you with $405.

Now that will be cut by half since my mom will not receive the longevity bonus check as of September. So, here you are with $200 to live off of for a month. That means you only have enough to purchase what you can from the local grocery store.

It's easy for you to cut the longevity check for our elders. It's easy for you to get up in the morning and know you have a pantry full of food and people are there to cook and clean for you. You don't consider having running water a luxury and you don't have to worry about dumping a honey bucket. You are comfortable in your home and office. An office that is far from villages such as Kwethluk and the people who live there. The people who voted for you. The people who trusted you.

Live in Kwethluk for a month, Mr. Murkowski. Let's see how long you would last with $200 in your pocket. If you are not a successful subsistence provider, you and your family would have to go hungry.

Cheryl Chandler


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