Alaska's coastal communities live and die year to year with the vagaries of the fishing season. My hometown has been struggling on the vine now for several years with the downturn in market prices, lack of processing support, and rising costs. The leading Republican candidate for governor says he will fix our problems by running off the environmentalists (how, he does not say), streamline the bureaucracy (how, he does not say), and make government more responsive to our needs (how, he does not say).
Don't get me wrong, I am just as mad as the next guy about these problems, but I want some thoughtful answers. Fran Ulmer has been listening, and she has some suggestions. What I like best is that she agrees something concrete must be done about these and other problems, and she has pledged to work with the industry; we will be part and parcel of the decisions regarding our future. I am a small-boat owner, business owner and employer, and part of this industry for all of my nearly 50 years in Alaska. I am suspect of Outsiders with all the answers, be they large national environmental organizations, foreign processing companies, the insurance industry, or U.S. senators who have spent too much time in the company of corporate lobbyists in Washington, D.C.
I will vote for keeping our fishing industry alive, and for positive change. I will vote for Fran Ulmer because she is going to make an outstanding governor.