The mining newspaper for Alaska and Canada's North

Nominate bureaucratic appointees now

Election of Donald Trump to the White House gives us the chance to make a difference by suggesting new government staffers

Like lots of folks, I was somewhat astounded that Secretary (Hillary) Clinton was able to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory earlier this month.

Everyone, of course, expected the left coast states (except for Alaska) to fall in line, and no one could have been caught off guard when the northeast and Illinois voted true blue.

Nevada might have been a little disappointing, but Colorado and New Mexico have been lost at sea for a while; and Minnesota was pretty much true to form.

Florida and North Carolina were regarded as the swing states from the gitgo; but almost everyone, it seems, was pretty sure that Michigan and Wisconsin, together with Ohio and Pennsylvania would certainly go to the Democrat.

We are now confronted with a businessman at the helm, and while a fairly substantial number of leaders in the past have transitioned smoothly between the public and private sectors, for the president-elect, this will be his first venture. An ancient anecdote relates that John Kennedy, when asked why he pursued a career in politics instead of religion, related that it was because he couldn't start off as the Pope. You have to give Mr. Trump points for wanting the top job.

But now that he has won and is charged with the responsibility for staffing thousands of high level positions inside the government, the question is whether he will fill those positions with private sector players who likewise have little or no experience in the public sector. So far the indications are disappointing.

The nominees for cabinet level positions unilaterally have either been christened with the sign of the electable or have dedicated a lifetime to military service, even though they may be mavericks. My personal preference, by comparison, would be for the transition team to appoint no one to a position of authority who cannot demonstrate a history of having met a payroll.

There's nothing magic about a career in private enterprise; however, when you are charged with looking an employee in the eye and saying, "I am sorry, I know you have a family to support, but I can no longer afford to keep you here," that is where the rubber meets the road. Businesses in America arise and fail like the tides, but one characteristic that President-elect Trump has in spades, is a history of cutting people loose.

The other day, the players in the hit show Hamilton addressed Vice President-elect Mike Pence from the stage by saying that they hoped their show had inspired the new administration "to uphold our American values and work on behalf of all of us." This is exactly what President-elect Donald Trump has undertaken to do.

It is not a singular aspiration. What makes this communication ironic though, is that arguably the major difference between the Obama administration and the upcoming one mirrors the historic difference between Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson just over two centuries ago. Both were keen on making America a better place, and both were handicapped by the cards they were dealt at the time. One favored a strong central government; the other favored a federation of equal states with only limited prescribed powers vested in the national entity. They each looked at America through the same metaphorical telescope, but from different ends.

No matter where the change in the executive branch leads us, the republic will survive; but now those who have been laboring in the fields have a rare opportunity to make our voices heard.

In the mining industry in Alaska, as well as our other basic industries across the country, including the health care industry, the education industry, and millions of other businesses, large and small, the private sector has felt the crushing burden of government oversight from every rock we turn to every breath we take. While I am the first to acknowledge that one-half of the professional bureaucracy is above average, sadly the concomitant is true - the other half is not. I think that most of us are acquainted with the lower group.

Of the thousands of federal jobs that must be filled by the new administration, we don't need more of the same; accordingly it is incumbent on us to identify qualified, private sector candidates to fill vacancies created by the change in leadership and to cause those individuals to apply for appointed federal positions. Although having previously worked in government should not be a disqualifying factor, in my view, never having had to meet a payroll should be. We just don't need regulators who don't know where money comes from telling us what the law requires.

Those who of you who want a position with the Trump Administration should get an application on file. If you don't want a position yourself but know of a perfect match for a soon-to-be-vacated job, you should nominate that individual by contacting the transition team or our congressional delegation. All too often after an election, we are left to bemoan our fate; but now, for one brief and shining moment, we have an opportunity to direct it.


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