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The Alaska Marine Highway System is a critically important piece of infrastructure that links Southeast Alaska communities, funnels visitors looking to spend their hard-earned dollars into Alaska, and generates hundreds and hundreds of jobs inside the state.

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In a way, Friday’s announcement by three environmental groups was refreshing.

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Kenneth Ray Book, 92, died Jan. 30, 2016, in Beaverton, Oregon.
Lawrence Harris Milton, 79, died Jan. 5, 2016, in Ketchikan.
MaryEllen Haseltine, 91, died Jan. 239, 2016, in Ketchikan.
7/9/2014
A worthy pledge

It's in the name.

The "people's pledge."

It's about the people of Alaska and the entire United States, people tired of negative influences from Outsiders.

Here in Alaska, Outside dollars fuel campaigns well past the boiling point.

The people don't like it. We don't like all of the negativity, and we don't like Outside dollars telling us what to think and how to vote. We don't like one candidate acting pure as snow while the same candidate's advertisements paid for by Outsiders smear an opponent.

As a result in other states, and also in Alaska, some candidates are signing pledges designed to discourage attack ads funded by Outsiders.

Incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Begich has been asked by Republican challenger Dan Sullivan to sign a similar pledge.

Begich says Sullivan's being disingenuous; that his request is only a political ploy. Begich says he would have preferred that the campaigns negotiate in regard to the topic of the pledge.

Sullivan says he simply wanted to set a standard for the type of race he and Begich would conduct.

With still the equivalent of a third of a year — four months — of campaigning until November's general election, time is available to do that and spare Alaskans a great deal of negativity from the Outside.

This sort of pledge might not arrive soon in Alaska, but in years to come, it — or something like it — will. Because like the title indicates, the people want a change from all of the negativity from Outside.