A vote for me is a vote for your children

Hello, My Name is Marcus Alexie and I am from Akiachak, Alaska. I grew up here knowing the struggles of an everyday student. I grew up in a time where everything seemed like it was going perfect, but that perfect has long gone.

I have settled back in my hometown after years of moving in and out to attend college at Kuskokwim Campus as well as University of Alaska Anchorage and living in Bethel to work several jobs learning professional fields. I obtained my Associates of Arts Degree in General Studies and decided to work on my Bachelors of Arts in English to become a teacher.

With all this said, I currently work as a Shareholder Records Specialist at our local Corporation, Akiachak Limited. I’ve learned the struggles of rural workers and see areas that need to be fixed; one of which involve our local children, teens and young adults.

The culture that I’ve seen within a year has proven to me that, we have forgotten about our children. In general, we’ve gotten accustomed to stay in our shell and not support in every fundraiser or activities that these children would like to host. I have seen a handful of people that help.

Our elders who have served in seats in various companies and local governments are getting tired. It’s time that our generation pick up the burdens that they face daily and take on new approach for issues that should be solved. Money is their only agenda that I’ve seen while living here throughout the years in my youth and adult life.

I’ve decided to take the responsibility of being a Regional School Board for Yupiit School District for the Location of Akiachak. I promote people my age who know they can take on the responsibility of these seats to act and apply for the seats that are open. This autocratic culture needs to be put to an end.

A vote for Marcus for Regional School Board, is a vote for your children, a vote for the students.

Marcus Alexie
Akiachak, AK

Thank you Lord for bringing me to Alaska

Key statement: Destiny is the product of habits; habits are the products of actions; actions are the products of words; words are the products of thoughts, and thoughts are the products of dreams.

Positive destinies originate from positive dreams; negative destinies originate from negative dreams.

Shann asked his father, Tom, “What went wrong with your father, why did he end up a beaten down man?”

Tom said, “He stopped living his dreams.”

The difference between great leaders, great fathers, great mothers, great teachers, great coaches, great mentors, and mediocre ones, is their ability to visualize what a person can become; not who or what they are at the present time.

I think this means the great ones can see the destiny before the dream is even imagined in the student of learning.

Moscow Idaho, 1961, a young college freshman was on the brink of flunking out of the University of Idaho. On a dismal and cold winter day, Dr. Leon Green placed his hand on this young athlete’s shoulder.

Dr. Green said these positive words, “I see greatness in you, come major in physical education and I will mentor you.”

Doc didn’t tell me I would have to minor in English and Biology.

Five years later this boy had become a young man ready to enter the professional world.

Once again Dr. Leon Green was the man of the hour. Fred Crowell needed new thoughts and new words to reach his dream of becoming a college basketball coach.

Crowell had lost out on several coaching jobs. Doc said, “Hey Crowell, they need a basketball coach at the University of Alaska. Why don’t you apply?”

“Do you think I can get that job?” I asked.

“No, send them a letter anyway they only cost 10 cents,” was his response.

Two weeks later the University of Alaska hired coach Crowell as it’s head men’s basketball coach. Knock knock. Who’s there? Destiny, I have been waiting for you.

My favorite line from the movie Bolt.

What is my destiny?

Fred Crowell woke at 1:57 am today. A dream woke me. Today I have a new destiny. Tomorrow I see the oncologist to get news of my most recent blood draw. The news will not change my new destiny.

Some day I will tell you my new destiny.

What is your destiny?

If you can’t tell me what it is in 20 seconds or less, I urge you to get busy. Know your destiny. Make a new one today.

Coach Crowell is the former head men’s basketball coach at the U of Alaska, experienced personal and family counselor and President of NBC Camps. Coach Crowell has brought his message of basketball and life skills excellence to communities throughout Alaska. These words are written to encourage you. To get more information go to Crowell.com. Email Coach Crowell if you wish to discuss bringing his Game Changer basketball and LIFEBALL program to your community.

Oppose the Senate Healthcare bill

Senator Murkowski recently said she wants to hear from small business owners about the U.S. Senate’s health insurance repeal bill. Hopefully she will read this.

My husband and I own an industrial supply company that has been operating in Alaska for 34 years. It is small. During that time we’ve had between 10 and 15 employees depending upon the economy.

Our company’s healthcare costs were rising dramatically long before the Affordable Healthcare Act. We’ve had to be very creative to cover the increasing premiums of our employees. Currently our company has an annual deductible of $5000. To compensate for employees’ out of pocket expenses we cover about 75% of the deductible from our own self-insurance fund. Usually it’s less expensive than having a lower deductible on our insurance plan.

Healthcare is a complex problem. Alaska has the highest healthcare costs in the world. Our trouble lies in a small population spread across our massive state and the resulting lack of competition in the healthcare. Alaskans now frequently go outside to have procedures because the price of surgery, airfare and hotel is cheaper than getting it done in state.

Drug costs are extremely high, yet Congress won’t negotiate with pharmaceutical companies. Meanwhile European countries use many of the same drugs that we do, but their governments negotiate volume discounts for their citizens. Are we Americans paying for the world’s healthcare drugs?

The Senate Healthcare bill doesn’t offer any solutions to our real problems. The bill gives large tax cuts to wealthy Americans, to those same drug companies whose prices can be egregious and to the insurance industry that makes a profit off of our illness. To counter the tax cuts the Senate bill reduces Medicaid, the social program that provides healthcare to those of us with the least incomes in our communities.

The Senate bill ends the federal government’s commitment to pay for the cost of Medicaid Expansion. This means more than 34,000 Alaskan who have recently gained coverage will lose their healthcare. Research shows it will take $3.1 billion out of Alaska’s economy during that time.

Medicaid Expansion has been positive for Alaska. According to the state it has injected over $400 million into our economy through providers from September 2015 through May 2017. (http://dhss.alaska.gov.HealthyAlaska/Pages/dashboard.aspx) Since it’s 90% federally funded the expansion saves the state of Alaska millions of dollars. Again the federal funding is financed by taxes on the wealthy and medically related corporations. The federal money additionally offsets millions in state general fund spending which is sorely needed in our depressed economy.

Like all small businesses, we are impacted by the state of the overall economy. From this very basic perspective, the Senate healthcare bill will harm Alaska by cutting one of the few industries that is growing.

Multiple studies show Alaska will be more negatively impacted by this bill than any other state. Let me share something that you may not know. In Alaska, Medicaid alone pays for over 50% of all births. What happens when Medicaid funds are cut? Who won’t get care? What services will they cut? How will it impact your friends and family?

The Senate bill will also impact our health insurance. It eliminates “birth control without co-pay” and doesn’t require insurance to include coverage for prenatal and maternity care. The bill limits where women can get care by defunding Planned Parenthood. It doesn’t make sense to stop access to specialized reproductive care when Alaska has one of the highest sexually transmitted infection and rape rates in the country.

In the US, unlike other developed countries, much of the healthcare costs fall directly on business through health insurance they provide for their employees. It’s an added cost that keeps increasing and makes American products less competitive with foreign brands.

It’s a balancing act providing healthcare and keeping costs down. More uninsured people hurt all of us. Without preventative care more people get sick. Unpaid bills from emergency rooms and hospital beds end up costing all Americans more money by raising healthcare prices.

The Senate bill will kick 34,000 Alaskans off healthcare coverage. It would be far more logical to address the problems in the Affordable Care Act and improve it rather than gutting Medicaid.

I urge Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan to have the courage to oppose the Senate Healthcare bill.

Robin Smith
Anchorage, AK

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