Andrew Halcro spoke at the Juneau Chamber of Commerce luncheon recently, and I was unusually impressed. He is bright, articulate, focused and has clear ideas how we should move forward as a state. He is running for governor independently, that is, without party affiliation.
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Halcro is not afraid to take a position, even in a crowd that might not agree with his views. In front of the chamber, which strongly supports the Juneau access road, he spoke of rebuilding our ferry system to make it the marine highway that it should be for Southeast Alaska, and questions a road to a ferry terminal further north. He believes our state needs a good retirement system for its workers so we can continue to attract excellent staff. He believes the state should once again provide revenue sharing to our cities and villages, which are struggling to survive, and help them build their own economic bases, as we build a stable statewide economic base.
I was not able to ask all the questions I had jotted down on my paper place mat during his talk, so I wrote down my e-mail address, folded up the place mat and handed it to him at the end of the chamber luncheon. As soon as he returned to Anchorage, he answered my questions in detail by e-mail with links to his Web site for further discussion. I went there to check him out more thoroughly.
Halcro served two terms in the Alaska State House from 1999 to 2003. He is president of Alaska Rent A Car, a family business since 1955 that operates Avis in Alaska. He has strong opinions he is willing to share rather than providing "platitudes for the multitudes."
He believes in science-based health care rather than ideology based politics, especially when it comes to women's reproductive rights. Unlike the governor and all the opponents the cruise industry has lined up to oppose Ballot Measure 2, he supports a head tax on cruise ship passengers to help fund tourism marketing, which has decreased by 76 percent. This would encourage independent travelers who do more to sustain our local economies because they stay longer and spend more with while they are here than do cruise ship passengers.
He is against moving the capital and says that even with the instant access the public has to their legislators by e-mail, toll-free numbers and live TV coverage, public participation is scarce.
He says that if we want a trustworthy government, we need to reform the capital, not relocate it, through campaign reform and cost management, among other things. He says that the same campaign donor who tried unsuccessfully to influence his vote when he became a freshman legislator, writes $50,000 checks to Sen. Ben Stevens for consulting. That is why we need reform.
With divisive issues in our city, state and country, I believe we need clear thinking individuals leading us who base decisions on what are best for people, the communities we live in and the environment surrounding us, rather than voting a party line. From what I hear, Halcro has always voted his conscience, which is why he's not affiliated with a party. He is supported wholeheartedly, however, by moderate Republicans and liberal Democrats alike.
Halcro is a voice of reason. To get on the ballot, he needs 3,200 signatures before the Aug. 22 primary. I ask that you sign his petition, not as a pledge of support, just an agreement that he be allowed to run as a nonpartisan candidate. It is important to have him as a choice in the general election, especially since we don't know what the field will be after the primary.
You can stop by the Rainbow Foods checkout counter or the third floor of the Juneau Empire to find his petition, or you can download it from his Web site and check out his ideas at www.ThinkHalcroGovernor.com.
Jackie Stewart is a Juneau resident.
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