Letter: Health care a factor in vote for Hutchings

Health care access a factor in vote for Hutchings

Being an older person, health care is very important to me. Being older also means that I appreciate not having to drive to Anchorage to see specialists or for treatment. As I understand it, our Borough owns both Central and South Peninsula Hospitals and leases to the non-profit corporations who run the hospitals and who are governed by operating boards — with people from the local community who are appointed to serve. Borough residents elect members to service area boards that keep the hospitals accountable to the Borough. The system works: our hospitals provide excellent care and are expanding treatment options every year in response to local needs. Charlie Pierce (candidate for Borough mayor) has in the past advocated giving away our local control by selling the hospitals to private companies. If this were to happen, ours would be like so many communities where corporate profits dictate health care. Do we want a for-profit hospital?

Linda Hutchings, also a candidate for Borough Mayor, understands what is at stake and wants the Borough to retain ownership of the hospitals. In addition, she served several terms on the Health Care Task Force and has worked tirelessly with the service area boards and hospitals to keep costs down. She was instrumental in establishing a safety corridor beyond Soldotna to respond to emergencies. As a task force member, she also identified the need for the detox center which just opened in Soldotna and one being planned for Homer in the near future. This will save lives and open ER beds for other critical needs. We need a Borough mayor who is knowledgeable, experienced and dedicated to meeting the Peninsula’s health care needs. Linda understands how important health care is to us all.

In addition to health care, Linda reflects my views on other important issues. Linda is against developing the Pebble Mine because she understands the importance of the fishing industry to the Kenai Peninsula. Linda values quality education on the Kenai Peninsula and will work hard to support and adequately fund our schools. In addition, she has had a wealth of experience with budgets and financial planning, has a sterling track record working with people and listening to her constituents, and has proven herself to be a strong, fair leader.

We all need to vote on (or before) Oct. 24. Think: health care, fishing industry, education, experience, leadership and excellent character — vote for Linda!

Lani Raymond