OK, we're all Alaskans and we seem to love a good political fight. We really like to fight about fish. So grab the popcorn for the next round. If you're following this, then you've seen half a dozen editorials, letters to the editor and stories over my nomination to the Alaska Board of Fisheries, all written by someone else. Most recently from an out-of-state individual paid to advance one group's vision. With a couple days to go before the Legislature makes a decision, you need to hear from the applicant himself.

My name is Robert Ruffner. I'm a married, dedicated father of two young daughters and a proud dipnetter from the Kenai who can't think of any better way to get fish onto the average Alaskans' table. Every sockeye in my freezer and in jars on our shelf came from a dipnet. I harvest near my family's limit and we eat every one. I will support and defend access to these fish and work very hard to improve the access of this fishery to ensure its continued success. What is needed moving forward is a better understanding and appreciation of these fisheries importance to the average Alaskan and recognition that each has unique challenges.

For nearly 20 years I've been working for more fish for all. Working collaboratively with all user groups we have done as much or more than anyone else on the Kenai Peninsula to improve habitat and make sure we have clean water in our streams. So, ensuring that fish get to spawning grounds is my first priority. My 20-year track record clearly proves that. Fish first is not a slogan for me, it's an avocation. For years I focused on habitat, staying out of the Cook Inlet fights swirling all around me. I believe this gives me a unique perspective and the experience required to make tough calls while remaining focused on the big picture rather than the "us" versus "them" mentality.

Read the full story at Alaska Dispatch News>>

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