Homer Alaska - Elections

Story last updated at 5:49 PM on Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Barbara Howard

What do the candidates think?

The assignment: Candidates for Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor and the District 8 seat for the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly were invited to submit a 500-word guest column. Candidates were given free rein to write about what they thought was most important.

Candidate for Homer City Council, 2 to be elected


Barbara Howard

How local politics can make a difference and bring the community together:

In a time when all we see are the inefficiencies and infighting of our Federal government, when national elections are a platform for bickering and posturing, and U.S. citizens have so little faith in the power of their vote, it becomes hard to see the value in becoming involved in politics.

What inspires me about local politics is the way it can stand in such contrast to the national political scene. We have the opportunity, as local citizens, to get to know our local candidates; to have our votes make an impact; to work together cooperatively for the good of our city. More importantly, we have the opportunity to get involved and carry out our dreams for Homer.

My enthusiasm for politics began when I saw how my friends and mentors, people I respected, were passionate about what mattered to them, and were willing to fight for their dreams. I experienced the power of regular citizens, how they are able to accomplish their goals for their city simply by getting involved.

Most of us have strong opinions about something in this town, whether it is issues of planning, infrastructure, parks and recreation, or the port and harbor. I strongly encourage you to put your opinion to work: join a commission, or a committee, or a board, in the area that interests you. This town is blessed with highly-skilled, well-trained and educated folks who have time and energy to help with the task of running this city effectively and efficiently. Just imagine all of their life's experiences and training coming together to resolve issues, plan for the future, and truly make this "our town". If you don't have the time to participate that way, then get to know your candidates, educate yourself on the issues, and VOTE!

Finally, when you see your friends and neighbors making a difference by volunteering, joining a commission, or testifying at a meeting, don't forget to thank them for helping the community. We don't always agree with our neighbors, but part of making a diverse community work is being grateful for those who care enough to make their voices heard. I know I am grateful to all of you who have helped make my time on city council so far an inspiring experience. Local voice can make a difference.

And I believe our local voice in Homer can show how a hard-working, involved community can work and live together harmoniously, and successfully.

If you want to get involved, you can check the city website for volunteer opportunities www.cityofhomer-ak.gov, or contact your city clerk Jo Johnson, at (907)235-3130. If you want to learn more about what matters to your fellow citizens, be sure to listen to Homer City Council meetings in person at City Hall or on the radio with KBBI 890 AM at 6 p.m. on the second and fourth Mondays of every month.

And contact me, Barbara Howard, at bhfish@gci.net or 226-2025. I want to hear from you. Thank you.