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Posted: Saturday, October 20, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 11:39 am, Mon Jan 21, 2013.

Oct. 18, 2012

To the editor:

Despite legal challenges, House District 38 now includes urban and rural constituents, and whoever wins the election will face the challenge of representing both groups. Perhaps after years of divisiveness between cities and the “rest of Alaska” this new district will provide an opportunity for real integration — but only if the elected leader has the ability and background to really understand the common needs and address them rather than becoming mired in partisan politics or controlled by corporate interests.

Positive change can result from this new district; for the first time some Interior urban dwellers will no longer be able to ignore the needs of their rural and coastal neighbors when they cast votes or lobby candidates. Rural residents will need to become better educated about how the urban side of the district functions and see where the commonalities lie. Both groups will learn much about building real bridges between urban and rural Alaska.

This new combination of constituents will require a new kind of leadership from someone who can focus on the basic needs that apply to all voters: better infrastructure, long-term sustainable local economies that employ local residents, food security, equal access to education, health care and responsive law enforcement.

Dorothy Shockley is that kind of leader. She has lived and worked effectively in both worlds. She is focused on all the right issues, ones that apply to everyone rather than to special interest groups. She has proven legislative experience in a district that included both urban and rural residents. She is dedicated to the community and is equally at home in the city and in the village. She is without a doubt the best candidate for District 38, and I hope you will give her your vote on Nov. 6.

Jenny Bell-Jones

Fairbanks

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