By MAJOR BEN CARPENTER (RET)
My military career spanned five presidential elections and four mid-term elections. Four of those elections I was enrolled in a military school. Another four I was deployed or preparing to deploy to the sandbox. Even under circumstances where my focus clearly wasn’t on politics, voting remained important to me.
It was a wise NCO who helped me early on in my career frame my dual status as military member and American citizen. Our constitutional republic only works if Americans perform their civic duty to vote and my oath to defend the constitution didn’t excuse me from my civic duty.
Throughout my time in uniform, voting was important enough that the chain of command always made it a priority. At every installation I was stationed at, unit commanders assigned voting assistance officers and NCO’s tasked with the responsibility to help educate soldiers and airmen on how to cast their vote.
During unit formations, the obligatory safety briefing by commanders also included words about the importance of voting. One such message I remember made an impact on me. For one moment in the purposeful life of all service members, the act of voting connects each of us with civilians from “home.” Or the local population where we are stationed. Whether voting by absentee ballot, or in person, this simple act serves as a reminder that our military is subordinate to the civilian population and remaining connected to the cares and concerns of that population is important. It’s also a reminder that service members have a say in the policies affecting their lives around the installation they serve at.
What the voting assistance officers couldn’t do was promote specific candidates. For the big national races that usually wasn’t a problem. Plenty of airtime, mailers, and other advertisements identified the national candidates. But the state-wide and local races were a little more difficult to follow.
For the JBER community this election there is one candidate for the Alaska House of Representatives who uniquely understands the local issues and the military lifestyle. That’s because he’s one of you.
First Lieutenant David Nelson serves with the Alaska Army National Guard. He is seeking re-election to the State House and your trust in him is not misplaced. I have served with him for two years and I have observed him to be a champion for veteran issues, an opponent of a state income tax, a defender of the Alaska Permanent Fund dividend, and an enthusiastic promoter of the military family.
Rep. Nelson sponsored legislation signed into law this year allowing civilian employers to grant an employment preference to spouses and dependents of servicemembers, including surviving spouses and dependents. Representative Nelson co-sponsored legislation that would enable spouses of servicemembers who are licensed or credentialed in another state to receive a temporary license from the State of Alaska while working to receive a permanent state license. This would have improved opportunities for spouses of servicemembers to obtain employment had it passed the Senate. Perhaps we can pass it next year with Rep. Nelson’s help.
Representative Nelson lives in North Muldoon and understands base life and the challenges service members face living off-base. If you have kids in Alaska schools or you’re a spouse who works in the economy, your JBER voice matters. If you benefit from the Alaska PFD and oppose a state income tax, your JBER voice matters. If you enjoy Alaska’s vast wilderness while you are here or intend to ETS and make Alaska your forever home, your JBER voice matters. Rep. David Nelson is JBER’s effective voice in the State House, and he needs your vote by absentee ballot or in person on Nov. 8.
Major Ben Carpenter represents the northern Kenai Peninsula in the State House. Major Carpenter served on active duty with both the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army and retired from the Alaska Army National Guard in 2018. He resides in Nikiski on his peony farm with his family.
East Anchorage needs and deserves somebody with more life experience in Alaska (he only recently moved from Florida) and better academic preparation. Nelson should not continue in a position with the state legislature as he appears unable to think well and quickly, respond meaningfully on important topics that face Alaskans and our state, and debate with the real smart guys and gals in the legislature.
Without a name, you opine without courage. Something Rep. Nelson has in abundance. College educated and military trained isn’t enough life experience or academics for you? A mighty high bar you set considering he meets the statutory requirements anyone must meet to hold the office. Unable to think well… those who have the courage to back their words with their name say otherwise.
You took the moral high ground. Now do the traditional victory lap.
Thank you for serving our great country.
I’m married. I’m a chick using someone else’s name. I’m OK with it. So is my hubby ok with it. He and I share viewpoints. I’m less nice about stating mine. The nation had two hundred years of preparation before the US Constitution with high stakes involved. Ergo nom de plumes. What was Stephen Payne’s nom de plume? With the advent of the worship of the lopsided WEF in lieu of God there are stakes involved by the fascists.
“Rep. Nelson sponsored legislation signed into law this year allowing civilian employers to grant an employment preference to spouses and dependents of service members, including surviving spouses and dependents.”
Thank you for your service, but no thanks for making it harder for long time Alaskan’s to get a decent job. Preference to spouses and dependents of temporary JBER personnel cuts sharply into Alaska’s already tight job market.
Certainly there’s lots of jobs listed, with few takers because even if both spouses worked those jobs, they couldn’t make ends meet, not at minimum wage, usually with reduced hours; and lacking the military’s medical and other benefits.
Rep. Nelson sponsored myopic legislation, good for him and his, but lacking understanding of the rest of Alaska’s needs.
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