Alaska's public safety officers (PSEA) support Ethan Berkowitz for governor. Like most Alaskans, we are conservative. Therefore, we want to point out important facts about why we support Berkowitz over Gov. Sean Parnell.
When Parnell became governor, legislators and others communicated dissatisfaction with Palin policies and appointees, and asked for change. Parnell refused to listen. Consequently, problems created under Palin continue. We believe Parnell's refusal to listen to public safety concerns makes Alaskans the most unprotected citizens in the country. It is essential for public safety that our politicians cooperate and are positive - this will exist under an Berkowitz administration.
Berkowitz has repeatedly met with PSEA to learn our concerns. He consistently solicits advice and vision for public safety. Not only has he sought input, he has consistently demonstrated his concern for public safety with his votes as a legislator. As a former legislator and prosecutor, Berkowitz supported laws that held perpetrators accountable and protected citizens, and he has never sacrificed the welfare of those policing society. He recognizes the most valuable public safety resource is its personnel and that personnel must be cared for and respected.
Parnell ignores Alaska's serious public safety needs. He put massive capital projects and the additional State employees required to accomplish them over public safety. Parnell's failure to improve public safety in light of our ridiculously out-of-control crime statistics and spending is reckless and unconscionable.
Berkowitz stands above Parnell on issues other than public safety. Berkowitz favors lower taxes - particularly corporate taxes. Parnell continues the hostile and burdensome Palin tax structure on oil companies. Alaskans pay nearly $1 more per gallon of gas than the rest of the nation. The oil companies do not and will not take a tax hit without passing it on to the consumer. So, while Parnell arrogantly sits on $8 billion in surplus funds, he forgets the surplus has been funded by you and me - not by cuts in oil company profits. Ethan Berkowitz wants to stop this sneaky tax structure.
In short, Ethan Berkowitz is a proven leader with new ideas and the strength to carry forth. Alaska needs a stand-up guy like Berkowitz, with a complete shift in philosophy. If we are committed to Alaska, we must insure that Ethan is our next governor.
Cox is president of PSEA/AFSCME Local 803.