Christine Hutchison: Kenai needs to be responsive to residents

  • By Christine Hutchison
  • Wednesday, September 28, 2016 4:39pm
  • Opinion

As a Candidate for a Kenai City Council position, I believe it is important for each of us to be involved somehow in our government to keep ourselves and the people around us informed. Thereby, those people might be inspired to become equally informed and involved themselves.

Involvement in the government in Washington seems impossible, but since all government is local: City Councils; Commissions and Service Area Boards are a good place to start.

There are several issues in the City of Kenai that might bear a better understanding:

1) The policy of sale vs. lease for sale of airport property;

2) Ways to promote growth of our business community; and

3) Park with theatre construction and an eroding bluff nearby.

As President Ronald Regan said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

With these things in mind, many years ago Wayne Ogle and I sought to help people become informed enough to understand how things worked with local government. As Wayne resides in Nikiski; myself in Kenai and first critical issue was on the borough level, we started with the KPB assembly agenda and a grassroots effort to understand, inform others and participate in local government.

With a bachelor’s degree in education, it came naturally for me to encourage people to become informed about government; however, the difficulty in getting Kenai people inspired enough to become involved confused me. Since the signature gathering for the City Council candidate position, the reluctance of Kenai people to become involved in local government has become more understandable. After talking to many people both to gather signatures and “on the door step” conversations, I believe many local people are convinced city government is not responsive to the residents. There are several areas where this could be an issue: lack of business friendliness; location of marijuana retail space in residential areas; and staging of funding for capital projects.

It is my opinion that by having people on the city council not associated with the current administration, as well as different experiences and skill sets, responsiveness to Kenai residents will have some success.

I would appreciate your vote on October 4 and the opportunity to discuss with each of you how the City of Kenai can better serve you.

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