Candidate's name: Rick Sikma
Date of birth: April 7, 1941
Employment history: Election judge in Alaska (20 years), quantity control at General Motors, Michigan (7 years); psychiatric aide, Michigan (2 years); custodian, North Star Borough School District (4 years); custodian, Fairbanks Memorial Hospital (2 years).
Previous public offices held: None
Previous unsuccessful runs for office: None
Education: Graduate of Harris High School, Iowa (1960); bachelor's from Reformed Bible College, Grand Rapids, Mich.; attended Gordon Conwell Seminiary, North Hampton, Miss. (1975-1978); attended summer sessions,West Minster Seminary, PA. (1978, 1984)
Military service: None
Children: Eric; Rebecca
Web site: www.ricksikma.com
1. Why are you running for office?
I believe our Senate leaders are too distant from the people and that government has become too complicated and intrusive. I will work for less government and for empowerment to the state and a leader who is available, approachable and in touch with the needs of the citizens of our state. 2. The most important issue in this election is ____.
The energy crisis is the only issue on the minds of the people, that and surviving the crisis. Those in leadership must act quickly and decisively if any discernable relief is to be given to the people. 3. What specifically should Congress do, if anything, to address rising energy prices?
Short term, the president should release fuel reserves to relieve this crisis we are all in. Long term, Congress must move to lesson restrictions and regulations to streamline the resource development process. Encourage AMERICAN developers so that the American people can benefit from its own resources.
4. If oil and gasoline prices continue to rise, could you support government price controls?
No. If we supply Americans first, at lower prices, then the international companies prices would fall. To make this happen, the U.S. must give tax credits to American-owned companies.
5. Do you support drilling in ANWR? If the answer is yes, tell us something new that you as a member of Congress can do to open the coastal plain to drilling.
Yes. Congress must lower or eliminate the cost of permits for American developers for exploration and drilling in ANWR and streamline the process in order to make it more profitable for all companies, large and small, to operate and produce.
6. TransCanada has suggested the federal government can help the proposed Alaska gas line by acting as a "bridge shipper." That means the federal government would agree to buy enough gas to fill the line if necessary, or at least guarantee the equivalent revenue stream for the pipeline owner. Will you support legislation to do this?
7. Do you support offshore drilling in Bristol Bay?
Yes. We must utilize every means possible to bring these resources into AMERICAN refineries BEFORE someone else does. Foreign-owned interests are seeking to develop offshore and if we don't get our act together, it will cost us dearly.
8. What can the federal government or Congress do to further a natural gas pipeline should state measures such as an AGIA license fail to pass, or fail to "induce" a pipeline?
Congress can support a pipeline by streamlining the permit process through federal lands. Again, as earlier stated, empowering American developers to produce an American product should be the first step in strengthening the American economy and resource development.
9. Some say oil companies have leased vast public acreage and are now sitting on the leases without drilling. Point Thomson in Alaska has been mentioned as an example. Do you believe this has anything to do with our energy crunch?
Yes. Foreign-owned companies have purposefully "blocked" access to development. Leases for exploration must be pursued, not "sat" on. For example, if your family were on the brink of starvation, yet you had stored enough food to supply them and your neighbors for a long time, what sense would it make to sit on these supplies and not release them to fill the need? 10. Rural Alaska has been hit particularly hard by high fuel prices. Are there specific steps Congress or a member of Congress should take to address this?
First, this is a state issue, not federal. However, Congress can assist in providing tax credits to people in rural areas where prices are higher. I believe that the government needs to get its eyes off of profit dollars, and back onto the needs of the people. 11. Should Congress continue President Bush's tax cuts to stimulate the economy? Explain.
Yes. Simple mathematics. Lower taxes = more personal income = a stronger economy and family unit. The value of a hard-earned dollar means more when you can keep more of it. This strengthens and encourages those who are working hard to provide for their families, and in turn, increasing quality and production. By taking away income through taxation, we are discouraging quality and production as the balance of value is shifted.
12. How important a priority is reducing the federal deficit? Explain.
Personally, I rank this issue higher than our current energy crisis. If we cannot significantly reduce this deficit, our economy will implode. Government spending must be stopped. When we educate our children about borrowing and debt management, how sincere can we be when our own spending is out of control. If foreign creditors decided to demand payment on our debts to them, our country would be bankrupted and thereby under their control. 13. Should the U.S. tax code be simplified? Is it fair?
Simplified? YES! Fair? NO! The American people should not need "experts" in order to understand the system that is governing them, especially their tax system. Even the "experts" have trouble understanding the rules and exceptions and regulations and etc., etc., etc. We have created a system of loopholes and a people struggling and desperate to understand why. 14. What should the future U.S. role in Iraq be?
The Iraqi government must be empowered to govern its own country. The U.S. cannot police the whole world. We must focus on our own borders in order to bring necessary protection to the American people. 15. How long do you believe the U.S. occupation should continue?
Without media headlining U.S. removal, a deadline (6-12 months max) should be given to Iraqi leadership. This will motivate their government to take necessary steps to retain control of their country. 16. Should a date be set for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq? Explain.
Yes. See #15 above. 17. What role should Congress have in deciding the kind of military approach the U.S. uses in Iraq?
None. Congress can only declare war and its funding. We cannot micro-manage our military but must trust those we have put into ranking positions to determine strategy, deployment and most effective use. 18. Under what circumstances, if any, would you support a pre-emptive military strike against Iran to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons?
I would not agree with any pre-emptive military strike of the United States. This kind of action would be governed by the United Nations. The U.S. should not strike any country unless there is an EMINENT threat, not a fear of being threatened. 19. How good a job is the military and the Veterans Administration doing in providing ongoing care to soldiers and ex-soldiers who served in the war? What specifically would you do to improve services?
Our veterans are very discouraged with the seeming indifference our government has shown them. I have spoken with many who say that they have been unable to receive proper medical care for service-related injuries; that they and their families have struggled and suffered because of the lack of provision by our government. Our veterans have sacrificed and laid down their lives for "their brothers." That's all of us. 20. What role do human-caused emissions of greenhouse gases play in global warming: None, some, most, or all? Explain.
None. Nothing that humans do (or cow-emissions for that matter) can affect climate change (or global warming). However, we can pollute the earth. We must be good stewards over the resources provided in the earth. Responsible and wise development is the key to maximizing the use of these available resources. 21. What legislation currently in Congress comes closest to the policy you would advocate for dealing with climate change?
Again, I do not believe that we humans can in any way change the climate of a planet. However, regulations that manage and encourage responsible resource development would be supported. We must take care not to over-regulate or restrict ourselves out of developing these resources in a timely manner.
22. Coastal erosion is a serious issue in a number of rural Alaska villages, with discussions about relocating some communities. Do you believe this is appropriate or realistic? Explain.
The federal government should not be involved in community relocation. What did people do before there was a government? We must reduce the mind-set that our government is here to bail us out and solve all our problems. We all realize some of our coastal communities are being threatened, however, the taxpayers cannot afford the $6.2 million dollar move that Senator Stevens is proposing.
23. Is it appropriate to use the polar bear listing as a threatened species to limit oil and gas development in the Arctic or regulate distant greenhouse gas emissions? What other steps, if any, do you think government and industry should take to protect Alaska's polar bear population?
First, it would be refreshing to see accurate numbers of the polar bear population listed, rather than information that is grossly manipulative. To date, the truthful facts of polar bear growth are very positive. There are some areas that fluctuate, some that are abundant, and some that are maintaining. But all reports indicate increasing numbers, no endangerment is present. We have the cleanest air over the Arctic. Let China, among other nations, clean their own skies; then, we'll discuss the issue of "emissions."
24. What's your position on the proposed Pebble mine in southwest Alaska? How do you plan to vote on the "Clean Water" initiative on the August ballot?
I am against this initiative. The "Clean Water" initiative would not help the fishing industry, but hinder it. By "cleaning" the water to purer than when it was taken actually kills the fish. All living organisms need certain "impurities" in the water to survive. By removing every trace from the water being returned to the environment, we are diluting the natural setting. 25. Are changes needed in the way congressional earmarks work? Under what circumstances should members of Congress be allowed to direct federal spending to specific projects in their district?
Desperate changes are needed. We must refer to the U.S. Constitution as our guide for spending and distribution of federal funding. We must not allow earmarks connected to bills and possible bill riders to continue. Basic debt management: If you don't have it, don't spend it. 26. What should Congress do, if anything, to help increase the supply of doctors in Alaska?
Congress can help by breaking the endless cycle of frivolous lawsuits, increasing insurance premiums, rising health-care costs, and the high cost of prescription drugs. Because of frivolous lawsuits and increasing insurance premiums, etc., it goes round and round. These excessive costs force good doctors to practice only in areas of the country they can afford to do so. Alaska has become a "mission field" for good-quality practitioners.
27. Some major Alaska fisheries have been "rationalized." That is, individual shares have been assigned to fishermen and even to processors. Do you support this approach for more of Alaska's fisheries?
Without self-government, there is no self-control. Those involved in the fishing industry must be able to govern themselves. A program that cuts them out of this process and regulates how they can provide for their families is not fair or equitable. A healthy competition must exist in order to facilitate proper motivation. I feel that this program's intentions are good, but its application must be revised.