Gilman: Strong families the backbone of our community

  • By Blaine Gilman
  • Thursday, October 2, 2014 7:46pm
  • Opinion

I have been blessed to have been raised and to have raised my children in the Kenai Peninsula Borough. I moved to Alaska in 1967 with my brother and my parents when I was six (6) years old. My father received a job as principal in Seldovia. We lived in Seldovia for one year and then moved to Seward where I was raised until 1976 when I moved to Kenai. I graduated from Kenai Central High School in 1979. I attended college at Seattle University from 1979 to 1983 and graduated with a BA in philosophy. I attended law school at Lewis & Clark in Portland from 1983 to 1986 and graduated with a J.D. in law. During the summers of college, I was employed as a cannery worker at Seward Fisheries.

In 1986, I returned to Kenai and passed the Alaska Bar Association Examination and became a licensed attorney in Alaska. I started working as an attorney in Kenai in 1986; and twenty-six (26) years later, I am still practicing law and operate my own law office.

In 1988, I met a Kenai girl, Margaret O’Reilly, at a City of Kenai Planning and Zoning meeting. We fell in love and were married in 1989. We have been blessed with four (4) children, Rebecca, Benjamin, Jacob and Brittany ranging from ages twenty-four (24) to fourteen (14).

Many of our social problems today, crime, poverty, addiction and violence are caused in part by broken families. We need strong families. We have too many broken families on the peninsula. As a community, we can do better. Municipal, state and federal government should be focusing on policies that encourages and strengthens families.

In order to have strong families, you need a good education system. Funding education is the conservative choice. The assembly needs to assure that our public schools are strong, adequately funded, and are providing the resources to our children to succeed in a competitive world. Advance placement classes need to be available to prepare our children for college. However, not all children are college bound. Therefore, more vocational and technical classes need to be available so they have the skills necessary to ready themselves for the workforce.

In order to have strong families, you need good jobs. We are having a renaissance in the oil and gas industry in the Cook Inlet. Nikiski has been chosen as the lead site for the Alaska LNG Plant. If this project becomes a reality, the workforce for the construction of the LNG Plant is projected to be 3,500 to 5,000 people. Further, there will be up to 600 permanent jobs for the operations of the facilities. The KPB needs to set policies that are supportive of the oil and gas industry and work together with industry to make the Alaska LNG project a reality.

In order to have strong families, you need self-reliant individuals who are willing to take personal responsibility for their actions and become actively involved in their community. Governmental programs are not the solution to all of the social problems that we encounter on the peninsula. The private sector – where individuals work together to aid their communities through volunteering through churches and nonprofit organizations – is a better alternative for finding solutions to social problems. Governmental programs too often trap families in long term dependence leaving them incapable of escaping their condition of poverty for generations.

I would be honored to be you assembly person for District 2. Please vote on Tuesday, October 7th.

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