December 23, 2014 (Issue 13)
Service and the Center of the Universe
Election season: it comes and it goes.
Every two years, like a rising tide, campaign fervor floods Alaska. It's utter, complete, neuron-invading inundation: advertisements; pollsters; earnest volunteers rapping on your door. Not even the Internet sanctum of YouTube and Pandora were safe. The audacity! (Pun definitely intended.)
It's not all rainbows and baby bunny rabbits for the candidate, either.
Why make tens of thousands of dollars of fundraising calls and scurry from house to house in the wet darkness of October nights?
Getting bonked over the head by a rather public biennial job interview - basically, why are you running? - is like taking public service vitamins if considered sincerely for the question it is.
I'm an idealist. Declarative sentence. No qualifications. People know this.
Knowing this, and also knowing that I'm two years into Alaska politics and no longer the fresh meat of 2012, people can't help but ask: So... Is it what you thought it would be?
They ask with a knowing, kindly smile. Maybe an avuncular chuckle, too. It's like they already know the answer - or maybe more accurately like they know what the answer cannot be.
Idealism and naiveté may often intermingle, but they are not necessarily the same. I have largely avoided being cut by the sharp edges of shattered illusions. No flesh wounds!
My why is a sort of wonky utilitarianism. I was awful at math in high school and barely escaped Mr. Langbauer's pre-calc class with a C-, but I've long been attracted to this abstract equation of sorts:
How do you effect the most change, the most good, in this world per unit time-effort?
I think lots and lots about this question. Lots of us do. There are many answers. The private and nonprofit sectors surely have their allure.
One answer has always resonated in me more than the others.
Alaska - especially Southeast Alaska - is the center of my universe. It would take something approaching a space-time singularity to alter this stubborn fact. I am hopelessly in love with this place. I love the people and the communities they create.
Public service is a way of caring. Public service is caring for the places and people you love.
I love where I'm from. I want to help make it better. I am so excited to have two more years to try.
Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins
Rep. JKT Media Management
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P.S. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas Eve!