Homer Alaska - Opinion

Story last updated at 4:38 PM on Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Homer News Editorial
It's time for citizens to do their homework before going to polls

Kudos to the nine citizens who have voluntarily stepped up to run for city and borough seats in the Oct. 2 municipal election: Mako Haggerty and Jesse Clutts, who are running for the District 8 assembly seat; Liz Downing and Mike Illg, who are running for the District 9 school board seat; Beth Wythe and Brian Zak, who are running to be Homer's next mayor; and Beau Burgess, Francie Roberts and James Dolma, who are running for two open seats on the council, for their involvement. Because of their efforts, voters will have a choice of candidates when they go to the polls. In addition, many other of your friends and neighbors are running for Service Area Board seats on the southern Kenai Peninsula.

The candidates, however, are only one part of the democracy-in-action equation. The other part is voters. Candidates have a responsibility to get the word out about why they're running, what they stand for, why they are the best person for the job and what they'll do once elected. But it's up to the rest of us to read about and listen to their messages and then vote for those candidates we think will do the best job for the community.

The Homer News begins its municipal election coverage this week with profiles of the District 9 assembly and District 8 school board candidates, as well as their responses to several questions. Next week we'll feature the Homer City Council and mayoral candidates. On Sept. 27, all the candidates will have an opportunity to speak to voters in a 600-word column on the topics of their choice.

Our coverage is one way to become informed about the candidates before heading to the polls. In addition, the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center is hosting debates featuring the candidates. A full debate schedule can be found on page 11 of today's newspaper.

There seem to be no big issues in this year's municipal election, but that doesn't mean it's any less important for voters to do their homework about the candidates and then vote for those candidates who they think will do the best job. Let's study up and show candidates we appreciate their efforts by showing up at the polls Oct. 2.

Congrats to West Homer and Dr. Steve Atwater

There's plenty of proof that good things are happening in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, including two announcements this week:

• West Homer Elementary School has been named a Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education.

• The Alaska Association of School Administrators has named Steve Atwater, the district's superintendent, the 2013 Alaska Superintendent of the Year. At their meeting this week in Homer, school board members praised Dr. Atwater for his leadership and for how he cares about the district and its students.

Hats off to everyone at West Homer Elementary School and Dr. Atwater for their awards.