Let politicians work

Posted: Sunday, August 26, 2007

Along with the privilege of serving as the Speaker of the House in the Alaska Legislature, I also work as a Teamster in the construction industry. This was my job and profession before I was elected to represent House District 12, and I'm proud to work as a fourth generation Alaskan and a Teamster.

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Whether we are talking about our governor or legislators, public officials and/or members of their family need to be able to work and earn a living. People need to work for many reasons - not only for the income, but also for the self-satisfaction of accomplishment and contributing to society.

Todd Palin and working legislators (or members of their families) should be applauded for wanting to work. We are elected officials, but we are also Alaskans with jobs and families.

It is also proper for us to disclose how we make a living - we accept this responsibility when we run for office. Once we disclose our sources of income to the electorate, it is then up to them to determine whether people should be allowed to continue serving in public office.

In other words, if the public perceives that the governor and her husband have a conflict of interest, they will have the opportunity to say so at the next election. This works well, as we have seen legislators who work for the oil industry stand for election every two years, and the voters of their districts have made informed choices.

Let's not hinder the ability of good people to run for office and at the same time continue to work (or have their spouses work) at their professions.

John Harris

Speaker of the House

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