After a great deal of thought and analysis, I believe a change to our current election process is necessary. Like many Alaskans, I have long been frustrated by hyper-partisanship and the damage it does to implementing responsible public policy.
Ballot Measure 2 in the Nov. 3 statewide election provides an opportunity for change.
The current primary election process too often leads to a choice in the general election between candidates from the far left and far right. The decision can, at times, boil down to selecting from the lesser of two extremes. Democratic primary voters push candidates to the left and Republican primary voters push candidates to the right, further dividing the state. The reality is most voters don’t belong to either political party or ascribe to either political extreme — they just want reasonable solutions that make life better in their communities and for their families.
The consequences of contentious partisanship to public policy are significant. Cooperation, building consensus, compromising and collaborating on public policy are important for crafting legislation that has broad public and bipartisan support. But, fear of being “punished” in the next primary election stymies bipartisan efforts at cooperation and compromise to the detriment of good, moderate public policy efforts. There’s no question that some issues will continue to be divisive; but, most public policy efforts will benefit immensely from incorporating input and perspectives from across the full political spectrum, rather than only from one or the other extremes.
I spent 12 years in the Alaska Legislature, nine years as Kenai Peninsula Borough mayor and a year as commissioner of the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development. Not once did I feel my responsibility was to a political party or to the constantly changing leadership of the political party. I believe there are many Alaskans who feel the same way, but the highly charged primaries are blocking their chances at winning elections.
The ballot measure proposal for ranked-choice voting is a change to the status quo and change is always difficult. I believe it is a change that will provide better opportunity for cooperation, collaboration and compromise when crafting public policy, moderating between the extremes — where most Alaskans are — rather than catering to either extreme. Alaska and its residents will reap the benefits. I encourage you to support Ballot Measure 2 on Nov. 3.
Mike Navarre has a diverse background in business and government. As president of a family-owned business, Mike’s business experience and success spans nearly 40 years. He has also served in a variety of state and local government positions, including nine years as mayor of the Kenai Peninsula Borough, 12 years in the Alaska House of Representatives and one year as Commissioner of the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development.