Contributed by Tim Hale
I love where I live. I’ve got just over two acres outside of Palmer in a great little neighborhood. The kind of neighborhood where folks watch out for each other and the kids can play in the woods or the street. I’m less than three miles from one of the greatest public shooting ranges in the entire Valley, and I’m in the wind shadow of Mat. Peak. An old cow moose drops her calves in my yard every spring.
This fall, I wish I lived about a mile due north.
You see, just the other side of Smith Road is the border of House District 11, where my friend, Eileen Patterson, is running to represent the good folks of Lazy Mountain, Palmer and Gateway. Eileen is the best candidate to represent “We the People” that I have met in a long time. She is smart, articulate, hardworking and curious. Most importantly, she listens to folks!
Eileen has the qualifications to make a good legislator. She serves on the Mat-Su Opioid Task Force, which has done more to combat our drug epidemic and resulting crime wave than the State of Alaska. She serves on the Borough Planning Commission, so she understands how government works, and how it doesn’t, as well as gaining a deep appreciation for the public process and how it can be improved. She served eight years in the Army, where she learned to work with her colleagues to ensure the success of the mission.
Eileen grew up in Florida, but she’s one of those people who was an Alaskan before they ever stepped off the plane. She met her husband, Adam, a talented local musician and fellow Army vet, while they were both deployed as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Adam grew up in Butte and graduated from Palmer High, so they came home to put down roots.
One of the first things I noticed about Eileen was that she is incredibly connected to her community. Everywhere you go, there she is: charitable events, public meetings, performances by local bands. You will find her there. Usually in animated conversation about something. All while raising two bright and friendly kids, serving the public and running a political campaign.
I was also struck by Eileen’s curious and open mind. She is full of ideas, energy and enthusiasm. If she doesn’t know the answer, she will look it up. She will call the folks who do know and grill them on the subject. She is not trapped by some partisan ideology either. If you present a good argument, she will consider it in depth. I have seen this over and over as Eileen and her team knock doors in the district. You won’t change her values, but you can change her mind.
The single most impressive thing about Eileen, however, is a refusal to take any corporate or union PAC money. We all argued against it. I’m a good union hand, and I told her, “Take the union money. It’s from real people, we donate it voluntarily out of our paychecks. You can’t win without it.”
She flat-out told me, “No. How could I be a voice for the people, how could I talk about the danger of money in politics, if I did that? If that’s what it takes to win, I don’t want to. We’ll just have to work harder.”
And work harder she has. Eileen and her group of “Super Secret Squirrels” have knocked on 2,813 doors in the last five weeks, and they intend to knock on AT LEAST 2,030 more. If she hasn’t been to your neighborhood yet, she will.
Eileen Patterson is the real deal, and she deserves our support.
To learn more about Eileen, join her for coffee every Tuesday morning at Vagabond Blues from 7am-8am. You can visit her on Facebook at “Eileen Patterson for Alaska State House”, visit her website, www.eileenpattersonforalaska.com, or call her cell at 907-795-6587.