Couple of news items from the 49th and 50th states

Alaska and Hawaii each caught my eye in the news feed this morning. First from the largest state in the United States, Alaska held a special election to replace US Congressman Don Young, who had suddenly died earlier this year. The news is there was an upset win on two counts. Here is a brief snippet from a news article whose link is below.

“Democrat Mary Peltola has won a special election for the U.S. House in Alaska, defeating Republican Sarah Palin and becoming the first Alaska Native to win a seat in Congress as well as the first woman to clinch the state’s at-large district. Peltola’s win flips a seat that had long been in Republican hands. She will serve the remainder of a term left open by the sudden death of Rep. Don Young (R) in March. Young represented Alaska in Congress for 49 years.

Peltola, who’s Yup’ik, is a tribal fisheries manager and former state representative who led in initial counts after the Aug. 16 election. But her win wasn’t assured until Wednesday, when Alaska election officials made decisive second-choice counts using the state’s new ranked-choice voting system. Republican Nick Begich III, who finished third, was eliminated, and his supporters’ second-choice votes were redistributed to the remaining candidates.

Palin who was endorsed by the most recent former president was the favorite given her populist name and the long tenure of a Republican hold on the position. But, the former governor, who did not complete her term after failing to help Senator John McCain win the presidency, was a very imperfect choice. And, I think the Alaskan people said enough to her candidacy. On the other hand, it looks like Peltola has had a compelling and dutybound career and deserves a shot to govern.

Second, news out of Hawaii is in keeping with a needed trend for the environment. A few snippets from the article below follow:

“The last bits of ash and greenhouse gases from Hawaii’s only remaining coal-fired power plant slipped into the environment this week when the state’s dirtiest source of electricity burned its final pieces of fuel. The last coal shipment arrived in the islands at the end of July, and the AES Corp. coal plant closed Thursday after 30 years in operation. The facility produced up to one-fifth of the electricity on Oahu — the most populous island in a state of nearly 1.5 million people.

Like other Pacific islands, the Hawaiian chain has suffered the cascading impacts of climate change. The state is experiencing the destruction of coral reefs from bleaching associated with increased ocean temperatures, rapid sea-level rise, more intense storms and drought that is increasing the state’s wildfire risk.”

It is good to see a state so impacted by climate change make this latest bold move. Coal power has been on the demise for about ten years as natural gas put the first nail in its coffin, then solar and wind have been even more cost effective in comparison as they added the other nails. And, tidal energy is starting to make more waves, pun intended.

So, the last two states, its largest and one of its smallest, are making headlines. Well done.


18 thoughts on “Couple of news items from the 49th and 50th states

  1. I was so excited by Ms. Peltola’s win that when I first got the “breaking news” notification I let out a little YEE HAW!!!! My girls thought I was having an attack of some sort and began to rush to my side until they saw the big grin on my face. Let’s hope she can win again in November, for I think she will be a very positive addition to the House of Representatives … certainly more valuable than the ignominious Ms. Palin!

    I wasn’t aware of the news out of Hawaii, but am very pleased to see the state taking climate change so seriously. (Good pun about wave energy, by the way) Let’s hope about 49 more states follow in their footsteps!

    • Jill, the first story does make you grin. What many do not fully realize is the former governor, who was a self-proclaimed “Mama Bear” quit before her term ended when criticism surfaced over alleged nepotism and misuse of funds. I think her quitting is important after making such a big deal how tough she was during the presidential campaign.

      I love the Hawaii story as they did what was needed. Keith

      • Palin has a number of strikes against her, and failing to complete her term as governor is a big one. She is, of course, blaming ranked choice voting rather than accept that the voters simply don’t want her representing them. I believed then, and will always believe that she was the main thing that doomed John McCain’s presidential bid.

        Yes, Hawaii is the front-runner on this and hopefully other states will work toward the same goal.

      • Jill, she was behind when the ranked choice voting started. I love ranked choice voting as it saves taxpayers a lot of money to not have to do an election that very few turn out for. Yet, I am not surprised by her poor sportsmanship – she is emulating the former president who advocated for her. She knew the rules going in. Keith

  2. Note to Readers: Seeing Hawaii’s announcement about closing the final coal plant is more pertinent given the Florida governor signing a law last week preventing environmental conscious investing in their state pension funds. With Miami being the at most city at risk in the world due to its size and proximity to sea level and the invasive state-wide algae problem, one would think climate and environmental investing would be at the forefront. However, it should be environmental focused funds have averaged a 14% annual return over the last five years as compared to an 11% annual return for non-environmental funds per Bloomberg. So, the investment management can still invest in better performing funds that also happen to be environmental funds.

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