Focused Goal: To Pass (Alaska) Senate Bill 3
In the 1937 American classic, Think and Grow Rich, the author, Napoleon Hill described what he called a “philosophy of success.” Having identified 17 Laws of Success, he guaranteed results for any person of reasonable talent, physical health and intelligence.
Dr. Hill made such a claim because he’d identified universal principles. Like the ones articulated by science. His “philosophy of success” produced results, by teaching a person to work with the flow of the Universe instead of against it.
Since my attendance at the Million Man March in 1995, I have read and re-read Think and Grow Rich many times. In the past, I have made half-hearted attempts in applying the 17 principles harmoniously toward one goal. Because my attempts were half-hearted, the results were half-hearted.
Then, in 2009, I went all out. Instead of questioning whether a “philosophy” I read inside of a book really worked or not, I decided to put it to the ultimate test. I found a mentor and made it my definite major purpose to impact Alaskan politics. I saw in the Anchorage Press that Senate Bill 1, increasing Alaska’s minimum wage, was docked in committee. It matured that year. Passage meant a remarkable change from $7.15 to $7.75. The Bill was structured to raise minimum wage as high as $8.75.
My political mentor, Roland Shanks, helped me fashion a campaign tailored to the resources readily at my disposal. Since I do not possess substantial wealth, this meant my only contribution to the political process was my labor. We settled upon a letter campaign, or knocking doors.
I will never forget that experience. To get one letter I had to knock four doors. That meant four pitches, that’s if I got a chance to make my pitch. Eventually, I secured 251 letters and testified in support of the Bill’s passage.
Remarkably, my efforts were rewarded. The Bill passed and raised Alaska’s minimum wage to $7.75. As a reward, I received a letter signed by FIVE sitting State Senators. Roland smiled at me and said, “Now that’s something special. I’ve never seen five Senators signing a letter to one citizen. You should frame that.”
I never did frame the letter. However, the memory is crystal clear.
Which is what I think counts.
Right now, my time, talent and intelligence are focused on the passage of Senate Bill 3. Here is a quick summary from the author of the Bill, Alaska State Senator Bill Wielechowski.
“Senate Bill 3 will provide a state match for schools participating in the federal Free and Reduced Price School Breakfast and Lunch Program. This legislation will encourage more schools to provide nutritious meals for underprivileg…ed children and allow schools that already do so to improve their programs. Currently in Alaska, twenty percent (20%) of schools participating in the school lunch program do not offer school breakfast, impacting 22,253 Alaskan children, 6,850 of whom are children from low income families who qualify for free or reduced price meals. For many children, these are the only nutritious meals they will get on a regular basis. Alaska is one of the only states that does not help supplement the program.
This legislation will provide school districts with a base amount of 35 cents for each breakfast served and 15 cents per lunch. To compensate for higher costs, rural schools will receive additional assistance through a funding formula based on the applicable School District Cost Factor for each district.
In addition to fighting childhood hunger, investing in school meals has been shown to improve school attendance and performance, reduce violence, and combat childhood obesity.
This legislation was requested by the Food Bank of Alaska, The Alaska Food Coalition, and the Alaska School Nutrition Association; and currently has been endorsed by the Yakutat Board of Education, the Petersburg Indian Association, the Petersburg School District, the Lower Kuskokwim School District, the Bering Strait School Board, the Cordova School District, the Yupiit School District, the Kenai Peninsula School District, the Chugach School District, the Anchorage School District, the Homer Food Pantry and the AARP.