Prior to the primary I had occasion to listen to the three candidates vying for former Representative Mike Chenault’s seat, representing District 29.
Ben Carpenter of Nikiski was one of the three candidates. I was struck by his adamant statements such as “We need to privatize all the schools.” He also stated that we need to cut our state government more and lock up all the drug dealers. He went on to win the Republican primary by 11 votes. Granted, now Carpenter’s website doesn’t convey these ideas in such absolute language, but I can’t believe his attitude has changed that much.
In contrast Shawn Butler is concerned that students entering her classes frequently aren’t prepared for college level studies, but she knows that absolutes like privatizing education isn’t an answer to such a complex problem.
Her experience in the military and the university system requires that she work with her colleagues to seek well informed, level headed, long term solutions to problems. She is running as an independent to be issue-based rather than partisan. For example Butler stated, “Whatever you believe about alternative energy, to me it means jobs.”
Reflecting on that meeting I see a real difference between the two candidates: Ben Carpenter – not to be confused with Kenn Carpenter, Seward’s Borough Assemblyman – is a man of absolutes. Cut, privatize and incarcerate seemed to be his mantra.
Shawn Butler, in an experienced vein, showed her willingness to be issue-oriented, find solutions that work for all and an experienced air of being able to work with anyone.
Given the close vote in the primary, your vote counts. I urge you to meet these candidates and figure out for yourself who would be best for District 29 and the future of our state. My money is on Shawn Butler.
Patricia Linville, Seward