By PAULETTE SCHUERCH
When I turn the television on these days, the only thing I see are negative ads, and they’re all aimed at Republican Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka. And many of them come from people from the Lower 48, trying to tell us how to vote.
I’m not swayed by the lies in advertisements. I’m voting for Kelly Tshibaka, and if the powerful people in the Lower 48 are against her, that means she’s doing something right.
The outsiders have brought the Washington, D.C. viciousness to our part of the world, but it wasn’t always this way.
I was invited to my first campaign trip when I was in the 10th grade by Senator Frank Ferguson; a number of us traveled by boat to Noorvik from Kotzebue. At that age, in the early 1980s, I was worried more about seeing my family and friends running around the beach playing tag and getting caught up with those I grew up with before moving to Kotzebue.
During those years growing up, we had Leaders in all of our communities that were big-picture thinkers, movers, and shakers. Did we sit in class waiting for our teachers to teach us civil discourse? Probably not. It’s because of our parents, grandparents, and Leaders who carved into our minds that we had a greater understanding of cooperation, avoiding conflict, and respecting our Elders by participating without conflict; let us seek to understand, and let’s agree to disagree.
Today, campaigns are much different; they have evolved over the last four decades from working together and helping one another, giving advice to your opponent, to what it is now. Our national figures think that it’s easier to tear their opponents apart and spread lies.
I’m voting for Tshibaka, which marks a very different path for me personally compared to how I’ve voted for 20 years, when I used to support incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski. I’m hearing criticisms from some of my “friends” now who don’t like that, but I am still the person I was but with a lot more experience since the 10th grade.
Have you been feeling like “WHEN WILL THIS END?” Or “I cannot wait until it is over!”
I’m in your boat now and know that it will stop soon.
So, when you slide behind that voting curtain, you let it all go, and mark Kelly Tshibaka as your first choice and show all those outside interests and people from other states who cannot vote here that they aren’t in charge of Alaska. Alaskans are in charge of Alaskans.
Paulette Schuerchwas born in Kotzebue and raised by her grandparents in Noorvik. She has fought for rural Alaska on the political stage, working for campaigns such as Governor Knowles, Governor Palin, Governor Walker, and Senator Murkowski’s 2010 write-in bid. She now supports Kelly Tshibaka for U.S. Senate.