Commentary: Politics should be about people

The following commentary is the opinion of its author, and does not necessarily reflect the viewpoints of the Raven Radio Foundation, its staff or board of directors.

Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins (photo provided)

I’m running for the Alaska House of Representatives. I’m running because I was born and raised here and I care about Sitka and Southeast. This is and will always be home, and I deeply care about the future of our region.

I recently got back from Hydaburg, which is in our new state house district. I knocked on every door in Hydaburg. A few elders told me it was the first time in 22 years that anyone had campaigned there, and many felt forgotten.

To me, politics should be about people, and about being an advocate for people’s needs. I want every Sitkan, and every resident of Hydaburg, to feel that they have a representative, a representative in the full sense of the word, in Juneau. Every phone call returned within 24 hours. 100-hour work weeks while sleeping on the office couch. Working just as hard for communities that vote against you as for those that vote for you. I want to make public service about being a servant to the public.

I’m also running for office because I’m saddened by the politics of present. “Political career” makes me blanch. A career implies that there’s a ladder to climb, that advancement of self is more important than advancement of ideas, that election is the “goal,” and that politics is no longer about people, but instead becomes a game or a sport for its own sake. I deeply disagree with this kind of politics and the mindset that allows for it.

I like ideas and trying to engineer solutions, and I really, really like working hard. I am 23 years old, and I believe that the perspective that comes with my age – a conservative long-term mindset, oriented towards sustainability and generations beyond my own – is an asset.

I believe in the politics of humility: good ideas are good ideas no matter where they come from, and good people are good people no matter what party they belong to. I welcome disagreement, and will always make a good faith effort to understand and hear out other opinions. I’m running as a Sitkan and an Alaskan, not as a Democrat or a Republican, and I believe that bi-partisanship is fundamental to ensuring the future of our state and our country.

I am honored to have the opportunity to earn your vote in the coming months.

Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins is the Democratic candidate for state House District 34.


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