Shauna Thornton: Overcoming challenges will require innovation

  • By Shauna Thornton
  • Wednesday, October 29, 2014 11:17pm
  • Opinion

“Time is neutral and does not change things. With courage and initiative, leaders change things.” — Jesse Jackson

The issues facing Alaska over the coming years will take a particular kind of leadership one that is forward thinking, innovative, courageous, and proactive. I believe that I have what it takes to lead the Kenai/Soldotna into the next chapter. I pledge to listen, pay attention, and never give up when it comes to our community. My parents taught me at an early age determination through our love of fishing; chasing elusive fish not only takes commitment but also drive. This same approach is something that I believe in never giving up, never saying cannot, and if there is a will; there is a way. This determined and driven approach is what we need now to take on the challenges our state faces. There is no such thing as giving up; I believe it is just another opportunity to find a different solution.

During the predicted lower oil prices, we are going to have to take cost-cutting approaches, and this will take innovation to preserve programs relevant to our community. This can be approached with discussion, common sense and listening to those in the field. This will require working together for Alaska, not parties or special interests. It is going to take all of us working together to overcome the hurdles that are facing the State of Alaska’s budget shortfalls.

Education is something that needs protection and future funding. It is difficult to plan with the current funding methods. Education will provide jobs for Alaskans and filled by Alaskans, and in turn benefits everyone. We need to be proactive and determine what jobs are needed in the future and educate those to fill them accordingly.

We have exciting projects in the works, and this will bring jobs, growth, and opportunities to our community. We will need to be mindful of the infrastructure and environment so that we can have the best possible results. This is going to take many conversations and active planning to ensure that our communities are ready and able to sustain this growth.

The fishing industry and the perils of the last years need addressing, there are many discussions, and issues on the table. This is going to take innovation and courage to do what is right for all involved and avoiding it or sitting on the sidelines is not going to be acceptable. We need to take initiative and have a complicated discussion. This is not something that is going to resolve itself or we can avoid. Like it or not we are going to have to get in there and make some sound common sense decisions that might even get heated, it is far past time. All groups need to be heard and represented no excuses, no special interests; real non-partisan leadership is what is needed to solve the issues we face today.

As your legislator, I will always be accessible and accountable to you. I will always listen and do what it takes to represent our community fairly. This will require hard work and dedication, not complacency and avoidance. This I have learned through volunteering and being at many events and working with many different groups. It is through courage and innovation that we will achieve our goals. I ask for your vote November 4 th.

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