Compass: Lindsey Holmes talks about her decision to switch parties

My recent decision to join the Republican Party and Alaska House Majority Caucus has certainly caused confusion and surprise among many people. I want to thank the ADN for letting me explain my reasoning and set the record straight.

I want to make it clear that I am the same person I was before I made this decision. My views on the issues I campaigned on have not changed. I hold the same values for which my constituents elected me; I stand by my voting record from past years. I have not become a different person with different values and different goals for the state. What I have changed is my party affiliation and role within the legislature. This is the change on which I want to focus.

As a lifelong Alaskan and Turnagain area resident, my primary focus in the legislature has always been on four key things: a healthy future for our state, economic development, providing for jobs and business growth that are critical for our future. The very first bill I sponsored was designed to protect and promote local Alaskan tourism businesses. During the last legislature I worked hard to pass a law that helped keep housing development projects in Anchorage moving forward--keeping construction jobs in our local economy. This work clearly reflects my consistent focus on enhancing jobs and economic development in Alaska. This was the catalyst for my change.

My decision came about in recent weeks--it was not something I had even contemplated last fall. As I was planning how I could best serve West Anchorage and the state in the upcoming legislative session, my goals focused around keeping the lights on in Southcentral Alaska, providing jobs for Alaskans, restraining budget growth, and making sure an oil tax bill actually puts more oil in the pipeline. I realized that my fiscal and economic views were most closely aligned with the House Majority Caucus and with members of the Republican Party--that this was the place where I could best express my goals and vision for Alaska.

I also realized that within this role I could work the hardest and do the most good for the state and my district. It was a very hard decision to make, and I knew it was not going to be an easy road once I made the change. However, I have and always will make my policy decisions by myself, based on one test: "will it help Alaska and West Anchorage?"

I truly believe that here in Alaska, when people walk into the voting booth, they vote for the candidate who has the best solutions for the issues facing our state--not a party label. My concern, above all else, has always been how I can best serve my constituents and the state of Alaska. I have changed my party label; I have not changed my commitment to the best interest of the state.

I understand that people may still have questions about my decision. I encourage anyone to contact me to discuss those questions and priorities for the state. In the end, I trust that the people of Alaska, and more importantly my friends and neighbors in West Anchorage, will judge me by my actions and hard work, not a letter behind my name.

Lindsey Holmes represents District 19 in the State House, which encompasses West Anchorage from Earthquake Park to Fish Creek and South to Raspberry Road. She was first elected in 2006.