• Governor aspires to be known as someone who “loved and served this great state.”
By Randi Somers
Alaska Governor Sean Parnell served his final hot dog of the summer Thursday, as he and wife, Sandy, visited Homer for the fifth and final Governor’s Picnic of 2013. Much of Parnell’s staff accompanied him on the tour of communities around the state.
Parnell started his day in Homer visiting with residents and guests from as far away as Nome. He spoke briefly at a Rotary luncheon at the Bidarka Inn, and then fielded questions from the audience.
“We’re in this together to make a better future for Alaska,” Parnell said of recent efforts to equip 100 villages with public safety officers. He also spoke of the work Sandy is doing to combat sex trafficking and domestic violence.
When asked about the future of Alaska over the next 10-15 years, Parnell responded, “Alaska is a place of opportunity; it’s a place where you can create a future. The key is leadership of the government in regulations and policy. We choose respect and we take the responsibility. There is no place like Alaska.”
As for the controversial SB 21, which would reduce taxes on oil companies, Parnell said the North Slope is “booming.” He also indicated that existing companies are beginning to expand and new companies are making new investments.
“We need to stay the course,” he said. “We’re expecting more announcements (regarding oil exploration) this fall.”
Following the Rotary luncheon, Parnell presided over a ceremony at South Peninsula Hospital, where he symbolically “turned on” the long-awaited natural gas to the Homer community.
Parnell called the natural gas expansion a “huge achievement.”
Following the hospital ceremony, the governor donned his barbecue apron and served constituents at a huge family picnic at Karen Hornaday Park.
The park and parking lots were packed solid long before the scheduled 4 p.m. start. Guides began handing out parking maps and directing people to take the trolley.
The HUGS (Homer Ukulele Group Society) performed throughout most of the afternoon, and many picnic-goers stayed on into the evening to enjoy the final performance by singer/guitarist Kevin Duff. A variety of booths and activities for youth seemed to keep just about everyone happy.
Comments are closed