Debbie Cary: Crucial decisions ahead for borough

  • By Debbie Cary
  • Tuesday, September 27, 2016 10:31pm
  • Opinion

As the election for the Kenai Peninsula Borough is looming right around the corner it is important, as constituents of the borough, to be involved in the election process. I have thrown my name in the proverbial hat for numerous reasons; equality, education and healthcare to name a few. I would be honored to represent the constituents of District 7 and the entire borough. I personally have attended a majority of the KPB Committee and Assembly meetings over the past year. In that time, I have watched the body make decisions for the entire community. I have gained a respect and understanding for the people and process involved in getting to the final vote.

As Alaskans, we are well aware of hard work and sacrifices for the common goal. Over the next three years I see the borough making some of the toughest decisions in the history of the borough.

The State of Alaska has a 4-billion-dollar deficit and in order to balance the State budget they will have to cut contributions to the local governing bodies. In turn. we will also be facing a deficit. It is the job of the assembly to pass a budget for the borough and approve a budget for the school district. When considering both of those budgets healthcare makes up a huge percentage of the cost. Moving forward we have to get a hold on healthcare costs, by working toward a common goal we can accomplish this.

Education is one of the most important aspects we must fund. It is our responsibility to teach each individual child how to learn not what to learn. Our children are the greatest resource our state has. The future generation is tasked with solving the problems we leave behind; we need a future generation of critical thinkers. John Green says “Public education does not exist for the benefit of students of for the benefit of their parents. It exists for the benefit of the social order. We have discovered as a species it is useful to have an educated public.” The educated will step up!

The fledgling marijuana industry is apt to take on a life of its own with numerous discussions and votes in the near future. As a borough we should look at wants vs needs when funding specific entities, just because it has always been done one way doesn’t mean there will be continued funds to fund at the current levels.

Oil & Gas exploration is an avenue for new jobs, industry and revenue within the borough. We need to explore new avenues for revenue, without taxing the people to a breaking point. To raise revenue, we need to encourage young families into our area, by creating sustainable jobs and opening new avenues for industry to come in. Working with Oil & Gas companies is a step in the right direction.

When things get tough we all need to buckle down and work through it. I would appreciate your vote on October 4th, 2016.

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