I think I will vote for Fran Ulmer in the upcoming gubernatorial election. My impression of Ms. Ulmer comes mainly from personal contact, small chat, and seeing her make a speech at the subsistence dinner at ANB Hall a few weeks ago, and seeing her make some speeches at different occasions.
I am at a great disadvantage of opinion and knowledge, having never met the other main candidate, Sen. Frank Murkowski, and having a main impression of him derived from what little I've read in newspapers and magazines and the opinions of liberal folks I talk to around town. The main thing I've heard is that Sen. Murkowski is not very smart. There is no way I can wage my own opinion on his intelligence, since I've never met the man, and since he has his own spokesman, Don Saddler, speaking for him in the Juneau Empire.
What strikes me clearly with Lt. Gov. Ulmer is that she is an excellent public speaker, and seems very thoughtful. For me, she does seem a little hard to talk to, with a permanent smile across her face and a constant public, impersonal voice, but what impresses me is her effort.
Maybe she can't relate to everybody, but at least she listens, I think after having a few awkward words with her.
Why would I vote for her? Her "Keeping Families First" slogan, and straight commitment to that ideal, resonates with my sensibilities. Building stability in family is a vision I'm desperate for, and it's well-needed in this state. Regarding her direction in the state's unstable economy, I am eager to see how she'll campaign, because that may be the main issue in this election. Surely, the economy is the greatest challenge for the next governor. Sadly, if politicians start talking of what's right for our economy, and realistic, like changing the permanent fund or instituting a state income tax, suddenly that politician loses votes. Who has the bravery to work toward ensuring a stable future? I trust the one who keeps families first, not parties, or companies, or votes, but families.
Ishmael C. Hope