I am getting ready to vote Nov. 2, and am still debating with myself over several candidates and issues. I don't really know how I will vote, until I have a ballot in hand and walk into the voting booth and have to decide what I think are the best choices for Alaska.
However, for the U.S. Senate race, as a registered non-partisan voter in Alaska for 48 years, and as someone who has taught courses on the history of Alaska, I'm leaning towards Scott McAdams for my vote. Being a senator from Alaska and representing the people is a great responsibility, but it carries with it some benefits, like an excellent salary, a staff, health care and retirement. Some see it as a good life, compared to that of many everyday working folks. Sen. Lisa Murkowski inherited the position, was re-elected and has been a "moderate," as some say. Generally she has voted along political party lines, but sometimes not. Joe Miller came to Alaska 16 or so years ago, had a military career and apparently a good education. But day after day, inconsistencies keep popping up in his past and present in his relationship to government programs and what he claims he wants to do. It seems that what he wants is the good life of a senator for himself.
McAdams, on the other hand, has spent much of his life in Alaska. He got a degree from Sheldon Jackson, an old Alaskan college, worked as a fisherman, and seems to be highly regarded by the people of Sitka who know him well. When the Democrats felt sure Murkowski would be re-elected, they were hard put to find any Democratic challenger. McAdams stood up and agreed to run. To me, as a former part-time commercial fisherman, it was like a crew member saying "For the good of the crew, I'll give it a try." He doesn't seem to be eager to find the good life, but to stand up and do what he can for Alaskans, even if it means being trounced by money and special interests. He may be successful.
My heroes over the decades have been Bill Egan, Jay Hammond, Nick Begich and several state legislators - Republicans, Independents and Democrats. Why? Because they put the people of Alaska first, did and voted for what they thought was best.
So, registered non-partisan colleagues, let's do what we do best and vote for whom we think is the best candidate. Let's not be led down some path by ads and promotions by outsiders, telling us they know best. We know best.
Trying to get us all in line is like trying to herd a flock of sparrows down a channel. Its our state, our election and our choice, no matter how different we are. Just get out and vote. Remember, as Shakespeare wrote, "To thine ownself be true," no matter what others try to tell us to do.
Olson is an Auke Bay resident