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Showing posts from November, 2014

Collection of Posts for Native American Heritage Month

Alaska's Closest Election: District 36's House vs. Gubernatorial Races

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Both District 36's state house race [Chere Klein (R) vs. Dan Ortiz (I)] and the race for Alaska's governor [Sean Parnell (R) vs. Bill Walker (I)] featured one independent candidate and one Republican incumbent or pseudo-incumbent. (While she's never served in office before, Chere Klein effectively assumed the mantle of retired Representative Peggy Wilson, at least among fellow Republicans.) Among other similarities, both races are very close right now and will be decided by absentee and early votes. Along with many Alaskans, I'm very anxious to find out the results.

When considering the races for governor and state house in District 36, I expected most people would consistently vote the party line—or the non-partisan line, as it were: Most everyone voting for the independent Walker/Mallott ticket would also vote for independent Dan Ortiz; those voting for the Republican Parnell/Sullivan ticket would also vote for Republican Chere Klein.

As it turns out, there were man…

Alaska's Closest Election: The District 36 House Race

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To tell the truth, I was entirely ready for Dan Ortiz to lose his race to represent Alaska's House District 36. I was even ready to write about it. Instead, he's surprised everyone.

Dan Ortiz was my debate teacher in high school several years ago, and my mentor teacher last year: I began my teaching career, and he retired from his. From the first moments I heard he was planning to run for office as an independent candidate, Dan had my full support.

Still, elections for many years show that Ketchikan and Wrangell—the two biggest communities in District 36—heavily favor Republican candidates. Just two years ago, Republican Peggy Wilson won her house seat with 4131 votes to Democrat Matt Olson's 2332—nearly a two-to-one margin. In addition, Wilson wasn't even the only Republican in the race! She was the incumbent from Wrangell's former district, and Republican Kyle Johansen (Ketchikan's incumbent) ran as an independent.

Vote Independent — Walker and Ortiz

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I submitted the following letter to SitNews and the Ketchikan Daily News about two weeks ago, but forgot to post it here for good measure. In any case, it's three days till election day now, and if you haven't voted already, you'd better vote by Tuesday!

Vote Independent — Walker and Ortiz

If there’s anything present American politics teaches, it’s that the party system has failed us. Neither Democrats nor Republicans have been able to set the country on the right track. It’s no wonder George Washington, James Madison, and other Founding Fathers were opposed to political factions. When it comes to balancing budgets, protecting good jobs, making smart healthcare decisions, providing for children’s future, and so many other issues, we need leaders who can move beyond partisanship and rigid ideologies.

Bill Walker and Dan Ortiz are two men who exemplify that kind of leadership. Governor Parnell and the state legislature have sent Alaska spiraling into deficit to the tune of $…