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EDITOR, Daily News:
If you have a fishing license, go vote. If you ride the ferries, go vote. If you drive on our roads, go vote. If you have or know children in the school district, go vote. If you’re concerned about senior citizens’ ability to continue living comfortably in the state of Alaska, go vote. If you want the PFD to be constitutionally protected for future generations of Alaskans, go vote.
The people you elect will be making decisions that will affect all of these things and more. It is the duty of a legislator to appropriate funding to our government departments, including Fish and Game, Transportation, Education and Pioneer Homes. Sometimes the political process in Juneau seems far away, but these decisions will directly impact you, your family, and our community.
Since beginning my time of service as your state representative in 2015, we have cut the budget drastically. I am in favor of a balanced budget and fiscal responsibility; I am not opposed to smart, precise cuts. We cannot, however, keep making large, hurtful cuts to essential services. There are currently 3,000 fewer state government employees than in 2014 (I joined the Legislature in 2015). This means fewer people maintaining our roads, managing our fisheries, and staffing our Pioneer Homes.
This past session, the Legislature succeeded in adding $20 million into the Alaska Marine Highway System operating fund. We also allocated an additional $20 million to our education budget, which had previously been flat-funded for several years in succession. We accomplished these goals by working across party lines and examining the budget with a critical, realistic eye.
Vote for someone who will fight for you. Vote for someone who can work across party lines to accomplish your best interests. Vote for someone with a proven record of working with a variety of legislators, businesses, community leaders, and constituents to advocate for the people and communities of District 36.
In conclusion: go vote! Voting is the foundation of our democracy. Early voting has begun and will continue through Nov. 5, and in-person voting is on Nov. 6. It only takes a few minutes to make a big difference.
REP. DAN ORTIZ
House District 36