To the editor: Fairbanks borough residents have a crucial vote this fall. Before I explain why it matters, let me thank those seeking office. The citizens on our assemblies, councils and boards toil through long hours of testimony, study and deliberation and their efforts are met with criticism more often than praise. Despite that, I’m grateful so many want to serve.
But these are challenging times, especially with a pandemic taxing our hospitals, clinics and schools, as well as, astonishingly, polarizing communities across the nation. What should be a matter of science and public health has become a point of rancorous political debate about freedom, of all things.
Such times call for leaders with reason, compassion and a sense of collaboration. Instead, what’s on offer by several local candidates are conspiracies deeply laced with resentment. Their grievances can be as mundane as wearing masks to protect others, to outlandish claims of vast and sinister cabals, abducting children or stealing elections. Pure lunacy, of course, without the support of logic or verifiable evidence.
There are other candidates, like Kristan Kelly, who express a level-headed appreciation for our current complexities. Instead of bitterness, Kristan offers optimism that together we can fashion a borough that surmounts current and future challenges. Having worked in the schools, Kristan understands the importance and realities of education. As a former News-Miner reporter, she’s observed firsthand the cut and thrust of politics; she is no Pollyanna.
I can’t imagine Fairbanksans want our community to see the same hyper-partisan mean-spiritedness that has largely stalled the work of Congress and hobbled our state Legislature. It is said in true dialogue, both sides are willing to change. I am confident Kristan will engage in genuine dialogue with fellow assembly members and residents of every stripe. The result will mean better outcomes for us all. I will vote for her and all those who offer hope and vision over resentment and conspiracies. I hope you will too.