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Inspiration and explanation: Governor Parnell and First Lady Sandy Parnell visit KCHS

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“If you would consider living larger do it now in how you treat friends—you live larger than self in small things. When you are faithful in that, you’ll be ready for leadership. I hope you’ll keep that perspective.”

– Governor Parnell, November 27, 2012, visit to KCHS

Alaska Governor Parnell and First Lady Sandy Parnell visited a Kenai Central High School government class taught by Justin Carr, on November 27, 2012. Students asked several questions, listening to Governor Parnell explain, “I never dreamed of being a governor. After 2003 I thought I was never going to serve again.” Instead, in 2012, standing with his wife, he looked intently at each of the high school seniors sitting at small desks, and said that his favorite part of being governor is, “Serving you and creating those paths of opportunity for you.”

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To create college education or post graduate opportunities for students, and increase the graduation rate, Parnell explained the benefit of the Alaska Performance Scholarship—and the opportunity Alaska students have for the “state to pay you to go to college,” or receive “job training.” Expanding his thoughts about the value of public service, Parnell talked about five paths of opportunity and focus for his administration: Resource Development; Education; Public Safety; Transportation; and Military Support.

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He advised students to “question what you read” and said his passion is, “being a catalyst for change.” Fielding questions, Parnell asked who wanted to ask his wife something. When no one immediately responded, he turned to Sandy Parnell and asked, “What is your passion?” With her response, students took deep breaths, and focused all eyes toward her, some in disbelief and with growing awareness as she said, “I’m a volunteer…I have a passion for ending sex trafficking.” Students heard harsh, sobering facts about sex—human—trafficking in Alaska, and steps and action being taken. The First Lady explained that highly vulnerable targets are Alaska Native girls from rural communities who end up in Anchorage working, then out of innocence, recruit young village girls.

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She shared a statistic, “Homeless youth are vulnerable. One in three teens on the street will be lured into trafficking within 48 hours of leaving home.” The governor created a “Crimes of Human Trafficking, Promoting Prostitution, and Sex Trafficking” task force after legislation (SB 210) was passed in 2012.
When asked why he was a republican, Governor Parnell replied, “My dad was a democrat, my mom was a republican, and I chose right.” After the laughter subsided, he said, “I do believe government has a limited role” and believe in “individual liberty and smaller government.” Furthermore, “We have to learn to work across the aisle—I learned that at the dinner table.” Ending, he encouraged everyone: “If you would consider living larger do it now in how you treat friends—you live larger than self in small things. When you are faithful in that, you’ll be ready for leadership. I hope you’ll keep that perspective.”

 

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“The students were excited to meet with the governor and were surprised to hear his candid responses to their questions,” said Justin Carr, KCHS teacher. “They felt that the small group setting gave them the opportunity to have a more intimate dialogue with the governor.”

Thank you to Governor Parnell and the First Lady, KPBSD teacher Justin Carr, and the students at KCHS for an excellent half hour of explanation and inspiration.

Links
• Alaska Performance Scholarship
• Choose Respect
• Task Force on the Crimes of Human Trafficking, Promoting Prostitution, and Sex Trafficking. Established by Senate Bill 210
• First Lady Addresses AFN Convention: Standing Together Against Human Trafficking


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