Voters give Legislature additional responsibility

  • Saturday, November 8, 2014 5:21pm
  • Opinion

Alaska elections always seem to yield some intriguing results, and last Tuesday’s ballot results are no exception.

Part of the intrigue lies in the potential for the results of the races for U.S. Senate and governor to flip when the early/absentee votes are counted. The state’s unofficial election day results show Dan Sullivan with an 8,149-vote lead over Sen. Mark Begich, and Bill Walker with a 3,165-vote lead over Gov. Sean Parnell — with more than 40,000 ballots still to be tallied. Whichever way those races go, there’s also the strong possibility that our governor and senator will have been elected with less than 50 percent of the vote.

There’s also a great deal of intrigue in trying to interpret the results of the election as a whole. This time around, Alaskans voted to legalize recreational use of marijuana and raise the minimum wage — both fairly liberal stances — while requiring additional regulation for resource development and, generally speaking, voting for conservative representation in government.

It’s interesting to note that the results of the ballot measures are a little more nuanced on the Kenai Peninsula. Voters in House District 29, which includes Nikiski, Sterling, Funny River and the eastern peninsula, and House District 30, the Kenai-Soldotna area, rejected the ballot measure on marijuana by a narrow margin while voters in House District 31, which stretches from Homer to Kasilof, approved of the measure.

And on Ballot Measure 4, which would require the Legislature to sign off on large-scale mining in the Bristol Bay Fisheries Reserve, nearly 64 percent of Kenai Peninsula voters said yes.

While the ballot measure pertains specifically to mining, its passage indicates to us that Alaskans, including Kenai Peninsula residents, believe resource extraction can and must be done responsibly, with minimal impact to the environment or to other resources.

Here on the Kenai Peninsula, oil and gas development is a key part of our economy, and we’re thrilled to see the boom under way in the Cook Inlet basin.

What we don’t want to see are issues such as what has happened at the Baker Hughes facility in Nikiski, where excess cement had been dumped at the back of the property, eventually running over onto a neighbor’s land. The company last week was completing a cleanup of the spilled material, but we have to wonder why something like this happened in the first place — particularly in this day and age, when procedures for dealing with every substance a company might come across are clearly spelled out. It’s little wonder that residents want an additional level of insurance that companies will follow through on promises to mitigate the environmental impact of resource development.

With so many votes left to count, there’s still more to be gleaned from the general election, but we hope our legislators take note of the additional responsibility Alaska voters have placed on them.

More in Opinion

LaDawn Druce asks Sen. Jesse Bjorkman a question during a town hall event on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Opinion: Addressing Kenai Peninsula’s education and public safety employee shortage

Many of our best and brightest educators take a hard and close look at the teacher’s retirement system in Alaska early in their careers and are stunned

Deven Mitchell, executive director of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation (Courtesy photo)
Opinion: Providing for generations of Alaskans

As a public endowment, the wealth of the Fund is the responsibility of every resident of the state

U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Mitt Romney greet each other outside the chamber at the U.S. Capitol on April 5, 2022. (J. Scott Applewhite / AP file photo)
Opinion: Alaska’s senators and Mitt Romney

When newly elected Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, began his term five years… Continue reading

A line of voters runs out the door of the Diamond Ridge Voting Precinct at the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center on Election Day, Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022, in Homer, Alaska. Chamber Executive Director Brad Anderson said he had never seen the amount of people coming through the polling place. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
How many ways can you vote?

Multiple ballot options available to voters

UAA Provost Denise Runge photographed outside the Administration and Humanities Building.
Opinion: UAA offers affordable and convenient pathways that prepare students for the next step

At UAA, we provide numerous academic programs designed to meet specific workforce needs

scales of justice (File photo)
Opinion: The Dubious Dunleavy Deal to use public dollars for personal legal costs

In 2019, these regulation changes were ultimately abandoned without public notice

A 2022 voter information pamphlet rests on a desk in the Peninsula Clarion offices on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Where to find voter pamphlets

Be educated about what you are voting on

Trustees and staff discuss management and investment of the Alaska Permanent Fund. (Courtesy Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation)
Providing Alaska-based opportunities for professional talent

Expanding our in-state presence by opening a satellite office in Anchorage has been part of the fund’s strategic plan for the past four years

Ben Carson (center) visits Iditarod Elementary School in Wasilla with Gov. Mike Dunleavy (to Carson’s right) on Tuesday. (Official photo from the Office of the Governor)
Opinion: Embarrassing Alaska through neglectful governance

When Gov. Mike Dunleavy learned Dr. Ben Carson would be speaking in… Continue reading

Flowers bloom at Soldotna City Hall on Wednesday, June 24, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Municipal government? What are their responsibilities?

Municipal governments (boroughs and cities) are similar to state and federal governments

A voting booth for the Kenai Peninsula Borough and City of Homer elections at Cowles Council Chambers on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022 in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Charlie Menke/ Homer News)
Voices of the Peninsula: Will you vote?

Kenai Peninsula Votes is asking the reader if you have a plan for how you will vote