Story last updated at 4:29 p.m. Thursday, August 15, 2002

Voting for good government
Elections are a time to get serious and make a difference. Let's face our problems and do something to improve our future.

We live in the best country in the world, the best state in that country, and I believe a community second to none. In the interest of preserving this, the vote is the bottom line.

We do have problems that need to be faced. Our state government is isolated from the majority of its citizens, making it difficult for most of us to afford being involved in decision-making. Those special interest groups that can afford to lobby their causes get heard, and, hence, government by special interest, while those of us who cannot afford the trip to Juneau are at a different disadvantage.

The answer is to move the legislators close to the majority of the people they are elected to represent. Then the government can be more responsive to solving the problems now and in the future.

I believe the permanent fund is in a serious position today. We must address this problem.

On the one hand, accepting our present policy of investing 99 percent of the fund outside the borders of Alaska has resulted in a loss of $4 billion value in as many years. This is unacceptable; that is an awful lot of revenue lost. Something must be done to stop this!

A change of policy is in order to prevent any more loss now and in the future. Let's gamble on ourselves. I am sure we are a better bet, and we will all have the use of the fund instead of hoping to make more. We've seen that balloon bust on $4 billion.

On the other hand, our legislators are going around the state saying they need more money, and they point to taxes and permanent fund earnings and claim they need this to satisfy the deficit. The real word is "overspending." They are now spending around double what any other state spends for government and its services.

Do you think throwing more money at this problem is going to solve it? I'm afraid not.

What is really needed is restoring confidence in our government by electing candidates who will solve problems instead of making more. Something isn't adding up, and I think a change of attitude is needed.

Just like the stock market, it goes bad because of poor management and loss of confidence. Confidence must be restored by choosing those candidates who are sensitive to serving the Alaska citizen and not just special interest groups.

We, as voters, hold the key to solving these problems and insuring a better future and quality of life for our families and ourselves that makes sense. That is what those of us who put our lives on the line to protest and preserve this great nation believe.

Whatever your point of view is on issues, the right and the ability to be heard is dear to all of us. Vote! Many around this world do not have that right. Use it! You can make a difference.

Ed Martin Sr., Soldotna