March 22, 2014
Dean Westlake announced today he will run for State House. Dean, a lifelong Alaskan, lives in Kotzebue and hopes to represent District #40.
I’ve been friends with Dean for many years so my first reaction was to reach out to him and ask him “What the heck? This is big news and big decision! I’m so proud of you for taking on such a big challenge, holy smokes.” I gathered my composure and went on to ask him more questions. This is how our conversation went:
(Me) Dean, what made you decide to throw your hat in ring for the 2014 election?
(Dean) These are exciting times for Alaska, especially our Arctic region. We need to invest in more infrastructures to facilitate the emerging economic development that will be happening. I want to be part of these exciting times.
(Me) If I were in your district, why should I vote for Dean Westlake?
(Dean) All the oil, over 90 percent of all state revenue, is in District #40. I will bring a strong active voice to the discussion. I want to represent my constituents and be part of these important decisions. What we do in District #40 affects the entire state. We here in this district need a voice in the decisions; we need representation that is an active force in Arctic policy. What is decided now will impact the residents who live here first. We have to stand up, we have to weigh in. We have to lead. Our children depend on it.
(Me) If elected, what is Job #1 for you?
(Dean) I will dive into energy issues. Affordable energy for my region is key to everything else; quality of life, hunting trips, warm homes and schools, and of course, economic survival.
(Me) It seems to me you are pro-development. Does that position create vulnerability, or a conflict, with the gathering of subsistence foods and the rural lifestyle cherished by so many families in Alaska?
(Dean) I’m pro subsistence first AND then pro development. In these changing times, we must be both. We can be both. I pledge to be active and involved in these important decisions. I believe in the good neighbor policy, the neighbors being subsistence users and economic development projects. Economic development cannot be allowed to harm our subsistence way of life in any way. I do not believe that is their intention.
(Me) What has prepared you to represent your constituents in Juneau?
(Dean) I’ve lived my entire life in Alaska. My family lives here. I smile when I hear something like “I’m a 4th generation Alaskan. As a Native, let me say, I am a 400th Generation Alaskan; welcome to my world. I’ve travel extensively throughout the region and I’ve worked with city, tribal, corporate, state, and federal officials and agencies in addressing our well-being as a people. I am ready.
Best of luck to you my friend. We need more like you.
May the best man win.
LeadDog, where the view always changes.
LeadDog Alaska©March 2014