Washington, D.C. needs a shakeup

  • Saturday, November 5, 2016 1:35pm
  • Opinion

Would four more years of the same federal administration be good for Alaska?

We’d argue that when it comes to Alaska’s priorities and the federal government, the answer to that question is clearly no.

In just about every area, the federal government has created more headaches for Alaska than solutions.

Start with health care. The Affordable Care Act has helped a small percentage of people who previously did not have access to health insurance, but it’s done so at the expense of much of the rest of the population, and by expanding Medicaid, making more and more people dependent upon a government that doesn’t have the money the pay for it if the federal contribution is for some reason pulled.

And for our veterans, Alaska had what should have been a model health care program — until it became the Choice Program and was plagued by the same long wait times as everywhere else in the country.

In health care and in other regulatory decisions, the current administration has refused to acknowledge the uniqueness of Alaska and the challenges of living, working and doing business here. It’s an attitude that has been reflected in decisions from the Environmental Protection Agency to overzealous enforcement practices by the National Park Service — the latter of which led to a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court decision that affirmed the notion that Alaska is different than the Lower 48, and should be treated as such.

Even resource development has become a challenge in what is a resource state. How long did it take for permitting for recent exploration and development in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska — a place set aside specifically for exploration and development?

We’re also concerned about national security. Our congressional delegation has worked tirelessly to bolster the military presence in Alaska. With aggression from Russia and new threats from North Korea, it is crucial that the administration shares the same view.

The presidential race has over the past few months devolved into a personality contest with little attention being paid to the issues facing Alaska and the nation, but the question facing voters on Tuesday is not which of the candidates is more or less flawed than the other.

No, the question voters should consider is which candidate’s future administration will be more receptive to policy changes that allow Alaska to move forward.

The answer to that question, for better or for worse, is the Republican nominee, Donald Trump.

Hillary Clinton may have started her campaign as a more centrist, moderate candidate, but during the course of the campaign, has been forced to tack too far to the left. Our concern is that a President Clinton would be beholden to those on the left of her party, and those policies are bad for Alaska — not just on resource development, but on constitutional issues such as Second Amendment rights.

And we are concerned that in the next four years, Clinton’s U.S. Supreme Court nominees would pull the court too far to the left, giving Alaska one less avenue of recourse when it comes to fighting overreaching federal policies.

What’s more, Clinton has shown a long history of questionable judgement and decision making, the results of which have ranged from minor embarrassment to serious risks to national security. She can cite Trump’s temperament all she wants; the truth is that the world is not a safer place than it was eight years ago, and Clinton has played a significant role in making it that way.

Reconciling a vote for Trump is, for many voters, not easy. Even members of Alaska’s congressional delegation have declared him unfit for the presidency. His rhetoric hasn’t been pretty — he’s run his campaign like a reality TV show, in which the loudest, most obnoxious contestant comes out on top. A President Trump will have to make the pivot to being “presidential” that he has so far resisted.

However, a President Trump administration, we believe, would provide the disruptive force necessary for the federal government to rethink its policies in Alaska. On almost every issue — secure borders, a strong military, government regulation, health care — Trump’s proposals would benefit Alaska and Alaskans.

We know that this is not the final word on the subject, and our readers will have many different opinions on Tuesday’s vote. Our goal is to start a discussion — one that, hopefully, is more civil than the campaign has been.

This year’s election has been unlike any other, and the impacts will be felt well beyond the next four years. It is appearing more and more likely that Alaska’s electoral votes will help decide the election, so every ballot cast counts. Please participate in the process and vote on Tuesday.

Polls are open from 7 a.m.-8 p.m.

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