Rep. not tied to party

Letter to the editor

Posted: Sunday, October 31, 2004

The Empire's recent profile of the House District No. 4 race between Rep. Bruce Weyhrauch and Bob Doll astutely notes that Weyhrauch is "running against both his Democratic opponent and the reputation of the governor who shares his party." I hope that Juneau voters are savvy enough to see that the Democratic strategy of trying to tie Bruce Weyhrauch to the unpopular policies and unethical actions of the Murkowski administration is, like the Republican strategy of trying to tie Tony Knowles to President Clinton and Democrats in Congress who oppose opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, partisan rhetoric that is belied by the facts.

Anyone who watched the hearings that Rep. Weyhrauch conducted as Chairman of the House State Affairs Committee concerning the governor's decision to move marine highway administration to Ketchikan knows that Weyhrauch fought hard to protect both the public interest and the state employees directly affected by the move and didn't pull any punches against his "fellow" Republicans in the Murkowski administration. Weyhrauch grilled Department of Transportation officials about the move and, when they stonewalled him, he requested a legislative audit.

I know from personal experience that Bruce Weyhrauch has been very responsive in dealing with problems that constituents have had with state government. In 2003 my husband, a state employee with an outstanding 18 year record as a manager, had his own problems with DOT. He was demoted but the Murkowski administration refused to tell him why and then delayed the grievance process. When my husband contacted our representative about the problem, Weyhrauch didn't ask if he was a Republican before taking action to help. As a legislator, Bruce Weyhrauch has continued helping people on a nonpartisan basis, just as he did before he was elected when he earned the Alaska Bar Association's top public service award for contributing many hours of pro-bono attorney work to those in need.

As you can probably guess, my husband and I are not Republicans. He is a life-long Democrat and I am nonpartisan. But we would vote to re-elect Bruce Weyhrauch if we were still in Juneau because Weyhrauch is one smart, hard-working, tough, independent, and effective legislator.

Shelley Higgins

Chugiak



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