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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

The Lone Independent

By Austin Otos

November 09, 2018
Friday PM

With the 2018 state elections coming to a close, the Alaska State House District 36 chose, yet again, an unaffiliated candidate to represent them in the state congress. For three consecutive terms, Dan Ortiz has inched out his opponents ranging from a well-connected political staffer, to a longstanding Ketchikan city council member, and finally our districts local republican chairman. Going into the 2018 Alaska state house, Ortiz will be the only unaffiliated representative in a sea of red and a pond of blue. The Republican running on restoring a full permanent fund dividend and reforming local property tax contributions to the state wasn’t enough to persuade voters of District 36. What mattered to voters more were the candidate’s actions such as door-to-door engagement, one-on-one personal communication, and community outreach.

Our brand of independence is an anomaly distinctly found amongst the residents who inhabit southeast Alaska. Being geographically isolated to islands and limited in resources, residents of southeast must work creatively together in order to accomplish community goals. I truly believe that partisan politics and blind party affiliation disrupts representation, siphoning individuals into two polarized groups.

Political parties sacrifice principle and integrity for self-preservation of the inclusive two party system. We have to look no further than the founding fathers Madison and Washington who warned society about the factiousness tendencies of parties and their degrading influence on the political body. True independence is working across party platforms to enact legislation beneficial to the communities they represent. A thriving fishing industry, improving marine transportation, and growing jobs shouldn’t be a political game to score cheap points for a particular party.

My challenge to party purists is, why limit yourself to a set of talking points and confine your thinking into a neat political box? Going forward, one party will dominate the Alaska state congress, but the lone independent from District 36 will look beyond party affiliation to represent the people.

Austin Otos
Ketchikan, Alaska



Editor's Note:

The text of this letter was NOT edited by the SitNews Editor.


Received November 09, 2018 - Published November 09, 2018

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