Ladies and gentlemen, summer is quickly passing. Fishing is coming to an end, visitors and tourists are starting to head for home, school will be starting soon and life is returning to normal.
With that, quickly approaching is the Republican primary election (August 16th) for the house seat (district 30) vacated by retiring Representative Kurt Olsen.
For the first time in twelve years you will be selecting a new voice to represent you in Juneau. Obviously you will want to choose the best candidate for the job. Vetting the candidates can be quite challenging.
Here are some things for you to consider when vetting the candidates:
— Will the candidate advocate for the things that you believe in?
First and foremost the operating budget must be balanced . I believe this must and can be done early in the session by passing SB128 and with additional cuts to the operating budget, in that order. I do not intend to support any other proposed revenue streams at this time.
To maintain the PERS/TERS contribution rates as they are, not shift additional cost to municipalities that would result in a property tax increase.
I believe only a fool would not advocate for and support our AKLNG project and I intend to do so. But the reality of it is that the decision to move the project forward at this time is not within our hands. I will do whatever I am able to advance this project given an opportunity to do so.
Advocate for community
While the things I spoke about above benefit the state as a whole probably the most important thing to advocate for is our community.
I have done this for years as an assembly member and would continue to do so as your representative. I have worked closely with community advisory groups in the borough, service areas, other assembly members and borough administrations to bring much needed state revenue and projects to our area.
Advocate for small business
This is a kind way of saying reduce governmental / administrative regulations. Our small businesses are being choked not with laws but administrative regulations. This is the same issue I advocated for when I campaigned in 2012. Then Governor Parnell was fighting federal overreach while our own state departments were equally restrictive. I believed then as I do now that regulations are adopted that do not meet the intent of the law nor would ever pass the legislative process.
— Has the candidate mastered the art of negotiating?
I believe I have the knack for negotiating. I can always do better but I have been doing it as an assembly member, with employees and customers as a small business owner, as a board of equalization member and with my wife for years. Remember it is about winning one small battle at a time not the entire war.
— Does the candidate have the experience you believe is needed to do the job?
I have the experience; I’ve been serving the local community in one form or another for 10 years. Currently serving my third term on the Borough Assembly, a member of the board of equalization, currently serving on the board of directors of the Alaska Municipal League, past member of the Civil Air Patrol
— Is the candidate vested in the local community?
As a 37 year resident of the Kenai Peninsula, I have lived in Sterling and now in Kalifornsky Beach/Kenai. I am a property owner, business owner and involved in the community.
— Do you believe the candidate will be effective while in Juneau?
I believe my team in Juneau would hit the ground running. I have established friendships with sitting legislators, members of the administration and other elected officials from around the state over numerous years of serving on the Assembly and Municipal League. These relationships are not only essential but invaluable in Juneau.
I don’t care to re-hash the dysfunction in Juneau this year or to reiterate the challenges facing the legislature in this upcoming session. We have been listening to the issues for the better part of a year now and are acutely aware of what they are.
Instead I used this opportunity to tell you what I believe in and why I think I am the best candidate for the job. The candidate you decide on will be equally important to any issue facing us as citizens.
I am asking for your support on August 16th!
Vote Gary Knopp for State House.
— Gary Knopp, District 30 State House candidate