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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

It's a privilege to serve
By Kyle Johansen


September 15, 2012

Sitnews Editor:

As the Ketchikan Daily News (KDN) Editor wrote in a recent, very long editorial about me, it is a great privilege representing constituents in Juneau.  It is also a great responsibility.  It is also about to be more difficult as, through redistricting, Southeast Alaska has lost a seat in the Alaska State House of Representatives.  There will be only four House members representing our region next year.

My track record on legislation, votes, appropriations and leadership is crystal-clear.  I am proud of my record of accomplishment.

Since 2010 I have passed as much or more legislation than 27 of 40 Representatives.  My career signature legislation on initiative reform brought the Lt. Governor here and across the State for public meetings on the Coastal Zone Management initiative, an event praised by the KDN editor.

As for the capital budget, it is insulting to me, Representative Wilson and the entire House of Representatives to suggest that the Chair of the Senate Finance committee alone dictates the Capital budget.  Peggy and I, as well as every House member and their Senator work together closely from the moment the Governor releases their budget in November to strategize for our Districts. 

Of course, it is a huge advantage to have our Senator as co-chair of the Finance committee.  However, if you take the time to look at the numbers you will see that Bert has been very fair to all parts of Alaska with his versions of the Capital budget.  The ebb and flow of capital appropriations across different regions has been remarkably consistent.  That is because we all work together in constructing the Capital budget.

The Capital budget is created in the Senate and has been for the 16 years I have worked in Juneau.  The Operating Budget has been created in the House for each of those years as well.  Agreeing with the assertion that Peggy and I and the House have no role in the capital budget would, logically, bring you to the conclusion that the Senate has no role in the Operating Budget.  This is obviously not correct.

As for the current election, my decision to run as a Republican by-petition was strategic.  We, in Ketchikan, saw two quality candidates split the local vote allowing Peggy Wilson of Wrangell to win the primary election.  If I were on that ballot, three quality Ketchikan candidates would have split the vote even more and all of us would be choosing between Wilson and the Democrat candidate Olson.  Again, my path to the general election ballot was strategic and gives the constituency a clear choice. 

I decided to not publicly campaign or take part in debates prior-to the primary to allow a good, healthy debate between those who were on the primary ballot. I stated to the KDN reporter I would take part in debates after the primary.  I turned down invitations to participate in the debates prior-to the primary. 

As for next session, I have learned the hard way, through my own mistakes, that this constituency wants me back in a position of power.  I will work to accomplish just that using all of my experience, skill, knowledge and contacts.  I don’t believe that learning from my mistakes is a strike against my candidacy.

My grandpa chose Ketchikan nearly a century ago, my father stayed here and so did I.  Regardless of the recent negativity, I have worked hard every day for the constituency.  I did not take the easy route out of a difficult situation by signing a resignation letter supported by the KDN editor and presented by the District 1 republican leadership.  I was ready to fight hard in a recall election, if needed.  I knocked on door after door gathering signatures to be placed on the General Election ballot.  I will never stop fighting for what I believe in, and I believe I am the best choice to defend and advance our issues.  After all, would you really want somebody representing you in Juneau who tucks tail and runs at the first sign of difficulty, challenge and controversy?  I would not.  I am moving forward.  Join me.


Kyle Johansen
Ketchikan, AK



Received September 15, 2012 - Published September 15, 2012



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