Common Sense and a breath of fresh air for the Mat-Su

A tiny ray of common sense is peeking out of the court system. The court threw out a lawsuit from Friends of Mat-Su against Usibelli Coal mine. The plaintiffs are miffed and say the problem is all about “constant blasting, coal dust,” “trucking of coal through our community” and “health and safety of thousands of families living near the mine and the transportation route throughout the Mat-Su Valley,” but the real reason for the suit was to shut down coal development. Alaska is one of the richest states in natural resources.

Cook Inlet Keepers have sued to reverse the federal government permit granted the Mat-Su Borough for a rail extension to Point MacKenzie because it “would harm the environment” and is “not needed because Alaska already has three tidewater ports.”

What do these two organizations, Friend of Mat-Su and Cook Inlet Keepers have in common? Mark Masteller.

Mark Masteller is the former chair of the MSB Planning Commission and currently serves as the Alaska Director for Cascadia Green Building Council. He is also a board member of Friends of Mat-Su.

Masteller is now challenging Larry DeVilbiss, our current Mat-Su Borough Mayor for the seat Larry has been doing a fine job at.

While on the Planning Commission, Masteller’s idea of conservative management was to slap heavy regulations on all natural resource development including the timber industry, coal bed methane gas exploration, and local power generation. It seems Masteller has a one track mind: green projects, energy efficient buildings and multiple smaller energy projects. Does anybody remember Solyndra? Masteller’s slogan is “A bright future for the Mat-Su,” but if he imposes more taxes, codes and regulations, the Valley will be one dark cold place.

In January 2011, Larry DeVilbiss, brought a breath of conservative fresh air to the Valley when he won the Mat-Su Borough Mayor seat. Larry brought his extensive experience and common sense as a farmer, School Board member, MEA Board of Directors, Borough Assemblyman, and long time Valley resident to his job as mayor.

Larry wants to develop resources responsibly, knowing that we can use our God-given natural resources wisely and beneficially for businesses and Valley families. Larry opposes government overreach, and California style regulation. Larry’s concern for opportunity for the people of our valley is what drove him to run for mayor just one year ago. Already we are seeing a huge increase in business and job creation with over 750 new business licenses this year alone. And, in the environment of a national recession, with Larry as mayor, over 800 new jobs have been generated in the Borough.

As a businessman, Larry understands the importance of an economy that is local as opposed to remaining a bedroom community. Larry doesn’t rubber stamp big government either. Larry worked to cut the budget, redundant or unnecessary positions and wasteful spending. He also uses integrity and thought about levying the least burdensome taxes for property owners, as well as pushing tasks needed by the Borough out to professionals in the private sector, thereby limiting government and expanding private sector jobs and still providing the services needed for Valley residents, families and businesses.

Mayor Larry DeVilbiss stays connected to the public by giving highlights of Assembly meetings in his podcast, the Mayor’s Minute. Many weighty subjects are addressed and it’s not just a gab session—Important things get accomplished in his interaction with the Borough Assembly. Here are just a few of the ones this last week:

• Approved wided supported Gas LID
• Approved a long-stalled road project in South Big Lake. This project has been desparately needed and in the works for sometime, but was stalled at the State level. Now with the Borough taking over it, by the summer of 2013, Big Lake residents from Jade Lake to Burma Road will enjoy improvements of a straighter, wider road.
• Discussed buyers for Susitna Ferry along with a debate on insurance costs for the M/V Susitna
• The issuance of $13.6 million in the voter-adopted, legislature-blessed road bond projects, just the beginning of the $64 million package. The issuance of bond money is sold in parts, matched by the state for roads, infrastructure and such for Borough wide needs, lessens the impact on the tax rate and also sets a completion date for the projects.
• $23.5 million in legislative grants for the ongoing construction of the Port MacKenzie Rail Extension

Larry’s humor, honesty, thoughtful moral character, and hard work ethic have been a huge asset to not only the Mat-Su Borough, but the entire state. Larry issued the first Mat-Su Borough proclamation in support of the National Day of Prayer. Larry is unequivocally pro-life and is always willing to speak up for the Right to Life. Alaska Right to Life PAC has fully endorsed Larry.

With the help of true conservatives like Mayor DeVilbiss, and newly elected Representative Shelly Hughes and Senator Elect Mike Dunleavy, we will back up government overreach and regulation while creating private sector jobs, opportunities and businesses that will ensure the best future of Valley families.