I live in the core area of the Mat Su Borough, but I have called Palmer home for the majority of my life. Although I am not eligible to vote in the City election on October 1, it matters to me what direction Palmer progresses because it is in Palmer that I shop, where I play, and where I volunteer.

I attended the Palmer Chamber of Commerce forum last week for the candidates running for City Council. Palmer is an energetic and engaged community. There are so many good things going on in Palmer; it is hard to imagine the need for change agents on the council. and the forum caused me to realize that there is a need.

Candidates answered questions covering everything from budgets, volunteerism, supporting small business, and their visions for the future. I have decided that Palmer is at a crossroads and the decisions made during this election will prove pivotal for its future.

That is why I support the following candidates:

Jim Cooper for mayor. Jim served as Palmer mayor in 2004 and has returned to steer Palmer toward being proactive on increasing a tax base and small business involvement.

Jill Valerius and Dave Fuller, running for the three-year seats. Jill is serious about a healthy Palmer. She brings fresh ideas on how to bridge the divide that comes from preserving that hometown feel and the changes needed to move forward. Dave grew up in Palmer and looks to bring all the parts of Palmer divided by the Glenn Highway together.

Lee Henrikson, for the two-year seat, is well-informed and wants to work together to make Palmer the best in Alaska. She is particularly interested in walkability and bikeablibilty.

Our local governments are where we have the most impact and influence. I think this local vote is perhaps the most important. In a way, it counts twice- once for city residents and once for the rest of us who live just outside a boundary, but call it home all the same.

Please vote for these critical city council positions. And, thank you.

City council elections for both Wasilla and Palmer are held Tuesday, October 1. But, the election officially kicks off the week with early voting. Beginning September 16 through September 30, registered voters can vote at the Mat Su Borough building in Palmer[, Monday- Friday, Sept. 16- 30, 9 am -5 pm.

Emily Forstner

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