Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell with both “travel with Franklin Graham, President and CEO of Samaritan’s Purse, to the communities of Marshall and Russian Mission on Friday” (Aid, 2009, Â¶1) where 10,000 pounds of food will be distributed to over 200 needy families (Aid, 2009, Â¶1).
For several weeks the administration has been working with residents on the Lower Yukon in an attempt to identify their eligibility for various aid programs for communities and individuals. Five state departments and the governor’s rural affairs advisor, John Moller, are involved in the immediate relief effort, and are currently visiting communities across the region (Aid, 2009, Â¶2).
Faith-based, non-profit groups, such as Samaritan’s Purse, have partnered with state agencies and have been instrumental in providing assistance to Western Alaska in recent weeks. The Department of Public Safety has utilized its aircraft to deliver food collected from around the state by faith-based and other nonprofit organizations. The Department of Public Safety is working with the Department of Education and Early Development personnel in implementing a plan to provide bulk foods to area residents (Aid, 2009, Â¶3).
Additionally, state benefit specialists from the Department of Health and Social Services visited Emmonak recently and enrolled individuals in several existing public assistance programs. The Department of Fish and Game has expanded the moose-hunting season for residents, and is also reviewing concerns with the commercial king salmon fishery that many Lower Yukon River residents depend on for a substantial portion of their income (Aid, 2009, Â¶4).
Governor Palin was to have attended a National Governors Association meeting in Washington, D.C. this weekend but canceled that trip to do the western Alaska trip, and work on certification requirements and budget amendments pertinent to the stimulus package (Aid, 2009, Â¶5).
One of the keys to being successful as an executive is setting priorities. Governor Palin’s press release details concisely and precisely how much work is being done to help these communities and how Governor Palin is marshaling the required resources; as well as how she is “thinking outside the box” for the type of aid that would be precluded under state law.
One of the keys to having the soul of an angel is setting aside personal ambition and working with “a servant’s heart” to quote the Governor’s own words. Attending the National Governors Association (NGA) meeting in Washington DC would have been a nice “feather in her cap” for a 2012 POTUS run and just general self-promotion. It would have given Governor Palin an opportunity to do some politicking both at and beyond the meeting. It would have given her some more exposure in the “Lower 48.” Governor Palin is a star and she knows it. Her presence at the NGA would have garnered international coverage, because as much as the mainstream press hates her, they love the ratings and the revenues coverage of Governor Palin brings.
But, she is foregoing her ambition and is instead bringing to fruition months of thankless work to help 200 families in need in a far flung area of Alaska. While Governor Palin and the various state agencies under her command was doing this work, she was castigated in the local press for “not caring” about these distressed communities. Her trip to Western Alaska might get a few cycles of coverage in the local press but will likely be forgotten about and if anything will be turned into something to bludgeon her with — like the tax situation which arose, because GOVERNOR PALIN REQUESTED that the matter be investigated, because she wanted to be 100% sure she is doing the right thing — a fact that was conveniently omitted in many reproduced accounts of the story (to the ADN’s credit, they did leave that factoid in).
The mark of a solid leader is to focus on the correct priorities to discharge duties based on right and wrong — not to pursue short-term popularity. By focusing on the correct priorities, popularity follows (Hilley, 2008, p. 157).
Yes, Governor Palin will be absent from the NGA this time around. She is going to western Alaska to serve higher priorities….
Hilley, J. (2008). Sarah Palin: A New Kind of Leader. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
Palin, Parnell to travel to western Alaska. (2009, February 19). State of Alaska, Governor. Retrieved February 19, 2009 from: http://www.gov.state.ak.us/news.php?id=1656