House candidate Q/A: Harry Thurman Crawford Jr.

Candidate's name: Harry Thurman Crawford Jr.

Party: Democrat

Date of birth: April 17, 1952

Occupation: Iron worker; state legislator

Current employer (with starting date):

Alaska Legislature since January 2001

Employment history (please include starting and ending months and years):

Iron Workers International, dozens and dozens of contractors, June 1972-May 2007

State of Alaska, state representative, January 2001-present

Previous public offices held (include dates):

Community Council president, 1997-1998

Previous unsuccessful runs for office (include dates):

State Legislature, 1996 and 1998

Post-secondary education (please includes dates and degrees):

Louisiana State University - Shreveport, 1970, 1978-81

Military service (starting and ending dates, last rank, specialty): None

Spouse's name: Gwendolyn J. Perry-Crawford

Children: Harry T. "Beau" Crawford III, Clarissa I. Crawford, Andrew W. Crawford and Trevor Scot Cole

In what states have you lived for at least six months? In what countries?

Louisiana, Alaska, U.S. Virgin Islands

Web site:


1. Why are you running for office? (Up to 100 words)

I am running for U.S. Congress to represent Alaska and Alaskans and to take our seat back from big money corporate interests. For far too many years this seat has been the property of Bill Allen of VECO, Jack Abramoff, and others in jail or under investigation. For years they showered Don Young with thousands of dollars with the expectation of special consideration.

It is time for a Congressman that will stand for Alaskans, not one beholden to the cynical and corrupt. My pledge to the Alaskan people is to represent them to the very best of my ability and stay far away these influences.

2. If elected, what are the three most important things you want to accomplish during your first/next term? (Please be specific.)

I would introduce legislation to make getting Alaska's North Slope Gas to market America's Number 1 energy priority.

I would introduce legislation to supplement our Social Security system by establishing a universal pension system that would be 100% portable.

I would introduce an amendment to reverse the decision granting corporate personhood to repair the damage from the Citizens United decision that has opened the floodgates to corrupt corporate money.

3. What specific changes, if any, will you propose or support for the Social Security system?

I would place Social Security contributions in a lock box so that they can command a fair return and will be there in the future rather than letting the federal government borrow the current surpluses, leaving the trust fund with IOUs. I would also raise the contribution limit well above the current $106,000 so that high income people can help the system maintain long term solvency.

4. The Bush-era tax cuts are set to expire on Dec. 31. Which comes closest to your position:

• Congress should extend the tax cuts only for the middle class, not for the top 2 percent, that is, households earning $250,000 or more.

• Congress should extend the tax cuts for everyone, including the top 2 percent, that is, households earning $250,000 or more.

• Congress should not extend any of the ax cuts.

• Other (explain).

Congress should extend the tax cuts to everyone making up to $200,000 per household. We have to get a handle on this deficit and debt.

5. Should the U.S. tax code be simplified? Is it fair? What would you describe as its single worst flaw?

Yes it should be simplified. Rates should be lowered and most deductions abolished.

But the worst flaw of the current system is taxing regular wages at a higher rate than investment income and other capital gains. Income is income and investors shouldn't be taxed at a lower rate than somebody working for wages.

6. Do you support congressional term limits? What limit would you propose?

The people should set the limits on a Congressman doing a poor job. The real limit should be on the huge amounts of money that are funneled into the campaigns of powerful committee chairmen.

7. Do you support the current U.S. strategy in Afghanistan? What should the future United States role in Afghanistan be?

The U.S. should only commit ground troops overseas when there is a clear and present danger to our country and its citizens. I support stabilizing Afghanistan as quickly as possible and turning it over to Afghani and regional peacekeepers. I believe the very presence of U.S. troops to be a destabilizing force to peace and the future of Afghanistan.

8. 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?

War is devastating to the soldiers that shoulder that duty. The answer is to only commit our troops when there is no other good alternative. For those who have served and sacrificed we need to do better in every respect. We have failed many of our veterans that have done what their country asked of them and come back with real and severe long term needs.

9. What is your position on the federal loan guarantees for an Alaska natural gas pipeline?

• Increase them

• Maintain them as they are

• Decrease them

• Eliminate them

Why? What specifically would you do to carry out your position if elected?

Increase them to a level that gets the job done.

The natural gas pipeline is an integral piece of Alaska's energy and economic future and must be built to ensure the state's fiscal stability. I would work with anyone of every political stripe to get this project moved forward. Failure is not an option.

10. Do you support oil and gas development on the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge? If so, what specifically would do to make this happen? How would this be more effective than previous efforts?


I would gather a summit of stakeholders to sit down and hammer out what each group has to have in order to reach a compromise that would allow reasonable development of oil and gas in the 1002 area. Nobody has tried the "everybody wins" approach. There are things that can be negotiated between reasonable people when all parties agree that there are mutual goals that each party can live with.

11. Should the proposed Pebble mine in southwest Alaska be constructed? If you have any specific concerns about the project, what are they?

I will not risk a renewable resource for the exploitation of a non-renewable resource. The health of the renewable resource should always come first. That said, there may be new methods that would allow extraction less destructive than the proposed open pit.

Also, the Pebble project, although huge, may be too low grade to be economic. What happens if it folds before reclamation? There must be a very high bond up front before any work starts.

12. Should the federal government end affirmative action programs in the public sector? In the private sector?


It has helped, yet has more work to do.

We all agree that people should not be disadvantaged by the color of their skin but the deck has long been stacked against people of color. Targeted affirmative action should be used when patterns of discrimination are identified in the both the public and private sectors. Those patterns should be clear and identifiable.

13. Do you believe the U.S. Constitution should be amended in any specific ways? Do you believe any existing amendments should be repealed? Explain.


Corporate personhood is wrong headed and should be excised. I believe it will take a Constitutional amendment to get rid of it.

14. What is your position on the 8(a) federal contracting policy that many Alaska Native corporations have used to grow?

• Continue it as is

• Expand it

• Shrink it

• Eliminate it

Why? What specifically would you do to carry out your position if elected?

I think it should be continued with an eye towards eventual transition when the Native Corporations are able.

15. Do you support federal funding for the Denali Commission, which funds water, sewer, energy and other public projects in rural Alaska?

• Increase funding

• Maintain funding at the FY 2010 level of $64 million

• Decrease funding

• Eliminate funding

Why? What specifically would you do to carry out your position if elected?

I would fight to maintain the current levels which I believe will be difficult at best. This state, especially rural areas, is in dire need of infrastructure and the population is low enough that funding is out of the question without some federal help.

16. Is deficit spending by the federal government inherently bad in all circumstances? Under what circumstances would you support deficit spending by the federal government?

There are only two circumstances where I support deficit spending. First, in case of emergency such as war or disaster that happens too suddenly to adjust to. Second, is when we build capital projects that will pay for themselves over the life of the project such as dams, high speed rail, bridges, harbors, universities, or the myriad of long term needs that government typically provides.

17. Name five large federal government programs you would eliminate within 10 years if you could.

There are none that I would eliminate, but several that I would improve or dramatically change. For instance, we need to eliminate corruption in the Minerals Management Service exposed during the investigation into the Gulf Oil disaster. All programs should be scrutinized, redundancy and inefficiency.

18. Do you believe the U.S. Constitution authorizes the collection of a federal income tax?


The Sixteenth Amendment, passed in 1909 and ratified in 1913, specifically gives Congress power to lay and collect taxes on incomes. It is a sad statement on how far our discourse has fallen that this question is even being asked.

19. Are you satisfied with the level of federal environmental regulation and oversight of offshore oil and gas drilling and shipping to prevent a major spill in Alaska? If not, what do you want to see changed?


I want to be assured that any blowout will be contained, period. I do not believe that drilling in the Arctic can be business as usual. It has to be done with safety as the #1 priority with unbiased eyes watching every step. I believe offshore oil and gas development is a part of our future but it has to be done right.

20. Rural Alaska communities continue to be hit by very high rates of unemployment, suicide, abuse and neglect. Is there anything you would do to address these issues? What specifically?

We have to bring back hope and optimism for the future. This can be accomplished by taking comprehensive steps such as building the community through dialogue, education, training, and encouraging community self-reliance. Alcohol is a scourge and exacerbates every other problem.

21. Should marriage be legally defined as between one man and one woman?

Our state constitution already defines it that way so we need to find another legal definition for committed same sex couples to share property and address all the other issues that couples must decide.

22. Should openly gay women and men be able to serve in the U.S. military?


Anybody that is willing to risk his or her life to protect us should not be denied the opportunity to serve because of their sexual orientation.

23. State your position on abortion.

Nobody likes abortion. Abortion existed before Roe v. Wade and would continue to exist if we made it illegal today. We should focus on preventing the need for abortion through education and better access to birth control. Abortion should be legal, safe, and as seldom used as we can make it.

24. Do you believe abortions should be allowed in the case of rape or incest? What about when the life of the mother is at risk?


25. What is your view on teaching creationism in public schools? Do you believe it should be part of the required state curriculum? How does it fit in with teaching evolution?

Creationism is not science and doesn't belong in the science curriculum. It could be explored in classes on comparative religion or philosophy classes but should not be required.

26. What should Congress or the federal government do, if anything, to help increase the supply of doctors in Alaska?

Expand on the Community Health Center system and help to train more doctors and other health professionals at a lower cost. We need to expand the number of doctors being trained at every level and reward them for a set time of service in Alaska.

27. Do human-caused emissions of greenhouse gases play any significant part in global warming?

The evidence certainly seems to point in that direction and it is too critical to wait for hindsight to prove it.

But even a full-throated transition away from carbon will require significant amounts of oil and gas for the next fifty years, and I want those resources to come from Alaska.

28. Do you support enacting any laws or regulations to reduce human-caused greenhouse gas emissions as a way to moderate global warming? Explain.

Fossil fuels by their very nature are limited in their extent. We have begun the transition to less polluting sources of energy but all of this will take time. Coal is a dirty business. The transition from coal to Alaska's natural gas will help the environment and benefit the economy of Alaskans and all Americans.

29. How would you describe the core health care policy problem in the U.S.? Was the problem addressed, in whole or in part, by the health care reform legislation passed by Congress this year?

The problem with health care is that it's too expensive, too scarce and too much of the health care dollar (about 27 cents) goes to insurance. We need more facilities for better access, more trained health care professionals for better competition and to establish patient-owned coops similar to credit unions to provide low-cost health insurance.

30. Do you believe the health care reform legislation should be repealed? If it were to be repealed, what would you propose Congress do to improve access to affordable, quality health care for most or all Americans?


The existing law should be modified to work better.

31. Will you vote for federal legislation containing earmarks? Will you propose the inclusion of earmarks for Alaska in federal appropriations bills?

Earmarks can be an effective way of meeting grassroots needs. Problems arise when they are used to benefit special interests or in exchange for donations or favors. For any earmark it must be clear who is asking for the funds, how the money will be spent and that it is for the public good.

32. 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? Are there other steps you think government and industry should take to protect Alaska's polar bear population?


These are unrelated questions. We need to protect wildlife but even more importantly we need to begin moving to other sources of renewable energy.

33. Do you support the federal granting of ownership shares of Bering Sea commercial fisheries to western Alaska villages -- the CDQ program -- at the expense of private companies that work those fisheries?


34. Would you:

• Expand the program to include more villages

• Expand the program by increasing the ownership shares of the villages

• Maintain the program as is, with the villages getting a percentage of the pollock, crab ... commercial catches.• Shrink the program

• Eliminate the program


Maintain the program as is.

The program is doing what it was designed to do. It is helping develop sustainable industry for western Alaskan villages.

35. It has been difficult for Alaskans eligible for Medicare to find coverage because of a shortage of physicians willing to accept these patients under current benefit rules. Do you believe this is a problem? What specific steps would you take to improve the situation?

Yes, it's a problem. Health care costs in Alaska are one and a half times what they are in the next most expensive market in the country. Obviously we need more providers. We need to expand the Community Health Care network. These take all patients, Medicare, Medicaid and private payers.