A run to be proud of

Wednesday, March 21, 2012 - 20:00

Eagle River’s Doug Urquidi isn’t your average politician. The 46-year-old electrician says he’s running for the U.S. House not out of a desire to become a high-powered Washington insider, but because he believes citizen government is what this nation was founded on. And although he’s trying to unseat a well-known Congressman in Don Young, Urquidi believes he’s got a great chance to win in November.

We admire both Urquidi’s patriotism and his confidence. Some might say that running against Young is a fool’s errand, as few have come remotely close to knocking him off his perch as the state’s lone House member since he was elected in the early 1970s. But Urquidi is willing to go up against Young in spite of the long odds, because he thinks that a new perspective is needed in Congress.

We’re not planning to endorse anyone in the fall election, and we’re not interested in trying to pump up Urquidi’s candidacy. Don Young has served this state well, and we’re in no position to say he doesn’t deserve another term. If Urquidi is going to build momentum for an election run, he’ll have to do that on his own.

But what we will say is this state could use more folks like him. From the community council level up to state government and beyond, there’s often few “real” people who challenge the established politicians, and even fewer who win.

Another local man, Bob Lupo, is running for Mayor of Anchorage. Whether it’s something in the water or our area’s proud history of independent thought, it seems Chugiak-Eagle River is not lacking for people wanting to serve their community.

And that’s what getting involved in government is all about. Without regular guys and gals willing to sacrifice the countless hours needed to run a campaign and then — if elected — serve in elected office, we’ll be stuck with more career politicians.

Which, of course, isn’t to say our local elected officials aren’t “real” people themselves. And by and large they’ve done an excellent job of representing their constituents’ needs while in Juneau.

But we would sure like to see more challengers — like Urquidi and Lupo — at every level of politics. The more voices that are added to the conversation, the greater the chance that constructive and innovative solutions to our problems can be found.

We wish all the candidates luck in the upcoming elections. Don’t forget, the municipal election will be held April 3. Next week we’ll be running a special section introducing you to the candidates for Mayor and School Board, along with the bond issues and ballot propositions. We hope this will help you make an informed decision when you go to the polls.

After that, it’s all up to you!

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