by Eric F. Bjella
October 15, 2004
It was a Saturday afternoon in the fall of 1986. I was new to Sitka, and was taking part in my first Rotary service project: Cutting and splitting firewood for the elderly and disadvantaged families to heat their homes during the coming winter. Standing next to me was a big guy wearing a hickory shirt, red suspenders, jeans cut high over his boots and holding a very large chainsaw. Bert said, "Let's get to work". Bert Stedman and I worked as a team for the rest of the day and on many other projects both civic and personal over the next 3 years.
I've now known Bert Stedman for 18 years watching him grow his business, start a family, and continue to work to better his community. I believe Bert has the personal integrity, the regional perspective, the analytical skill set, and the strong work ethic required to effectively represent District A in Juneau as part of the Alaska State Senate. Bert's message of plans to improve Transportation, Resource Development, Communications, Education, and the general business climate in southeast Alaska has been consistent and he has spent the last year in the Senate listening, learning, and developing ways to further those plans.
But there is another message that some may miss if they don't get the chance to talk with Bert on other, less dominant issues. There is a message of commitment to support Human Services needs, vital State Government Services, and Organizations that enhance our daily lives like the Performing and Fine Arts. When we strengthen our local and state economy, support for these and other needs can grow and expand.
I'm glad Bert Stedman chose to accept the Governor's appointment to fill Senator Taylor's seat in District A and I'm confident he will represent all of the constituent communities fairly and with the best interests of southeast Alaska in mind.
Eric F. Bjella
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