AD Main Menu

Senate candidate Q/A: Joe Miller (R)

Candidate's name: Joe Miller

Party: Republican

Date of birth: May 10, 1967

Occupation: Attorney

Current employer (with starting date):

Self-employed since 2002

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

U.S. Army officer, 1989-1992

Intern, Alaska Department of Law, Anchorage, 1994-January 1995

Attorney, Condon Partnow & Sharrock, Anchorage, 1995-1998

Magistrate, Superior Court master, Alaska Court System, Tok, 1998-2002

Acting District Court judge, Alaska Court System, Fairbanks, 2002

Adjunct professor, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, 2003

Part-time U.S. magistrate judge, U.S. Federal Courts, 2002-2004

Part-time assistant borough attorney, Fairbanks North Star Borough, 2002-2009

Owner of Law Offices of Joseph Miller, Fairbanks, 2002-present

Previous public offices held (include dates):

Previous unsuccessful runs for office (include dates):

State House of Representative, District 8, Fairbanks, 2004

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

U.S. Military Academy at West Point, bachelor's of science in political science, 1989.

Yale Law School, J.D., 1995

University of Alaska, master's in economics, 2008

Military service (starting and ending dates, last rank, specialty):

Cadet, U.S. Military Academy at West Point, 1985-1989

U.S. Army, 1989-1992, active duty, 1st lieutenant

U.S. Army, reserve status, 1992-1997, captain

Spouse's name: Kathleen

Children: Kelsey, Katy, Joe, Jacob, Joshua, Kassia, James and Kristianna

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

Kansas, Oklahoma, New York, Connecticut, Alaska

Web site: joemiller.us

ISSUE QUESTIONS

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

This nation is at a critical crossroads. We can either continue on the path that we have been on, which will lead the nation to financial crisis, or we can return to the time-test principles of limited government, individual freedom and personal responsibility. Freedom is a zero sum game. The more power that is given to the federal government, the less that will be left for state and most importantly the people.

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

Limit the size and scope of the federal government.

Return more power to state governments.

Reform tax code to encourage job creation.

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

We must honor the commitments that we've made to those currently receiving and about to receive these benefits. They've relied on the federal government in making their retirement plans. But we must begin transition for those younger generations to a program that is controlled by individuals. The truth is that the supposed "trust fund" for Social Security has already been spent by the federal government as part of the general revenues. There are only IOU's in the form of U.S. government treasury notes sitting in the alleged trust fund.

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 for everyone, including the top 2 percent, that is, households earning $250,000 or more.

I support extending legislation that would ensure that all Alaskans do not see a tax increase next year. Our economy still hasn't recovered from recession and the U.S. is already at a competitive disadvantage in the global economy due to our high tax rates. This tax hike at the top rate would hurt 75 percent of small business owners that file taxes at individual rates-the same small business owners responsible for nearly two-thirds of private sector job creation.

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

Our current tax code is greatly inhibiting the United States' ability to compete in the world economy and create jobs. I support the consumption based "Fair Tax," which eliminates the IRS. The tax code's worst flaw is that it is thousands of pages long, is incredibly complex, and creates billions of dollars in compliance costs.

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

I would support a two-term limit for United States Senators and six terms for Members of the House of Representatives, universally applied.

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

As a combat veteran of the Desert Shield and Desert Storm, I know the importance of supporting our troops wherever they are serving around the globe. I support efforts to eliminate terrorist threats against the United States found within Afghanistan. Once the terrorist threats are eliminated in Afghanistan, we must remove our forces. We must be careful about overextending our troops and our nation's resources. We cannot afford open-ended commitments.

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?

As a service-connected veteran, I personally know that there is a great need here in Alaska for more VA medical facilities. We have the highest veterans population per capita of any state in the U.S., and yet our veterans -- especially in rural areas -- are forced to travel extensively for care. Our Department of Defense and Veteran's Administration should be amongst the highest priorities of our federal government.

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?

Maintain them as they are.

I will work with the governor, the North Slope producers, and all other stakeholders to determine what is the best strategy for Alaska. Until I have detailed information on any need for increased guarantees, it would be best to maintain the status quo. Given the critical importance of the gas pipeline to the energy needs of Alaska and the country, I will explore every option in bringing this incredible resource to market.

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 firmly support the opening of ANWR to oil and natural gas development. TAPS is now running at less than one-third of 1980's peak throughput: 2.1 million barrels per day then to 660,000 barrels per day last year. TAPS must be refilled. I look forward to building effective coalitions with the new Senators and Representatives who are as committed as I am to changing DC and bringing power over resources back to the states.

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

Before construction begins, the Department of Environmental Conservation must address the acidification concerns potentially affecting the long-term health of Bristol Bay fisheries. Only if the fisheries can be adequately protected should Pebble construction begin.

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

I support anti-discrimination laws, but I don't support affirmative actions programs, because they create unequal treatment under the law, contrary to one of our most basic beliefs as Americans. Nevertheless, anyone who discriminates against someone because of the color of his/her skin must be held to account to the fullest extent of the law.

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.

I would support an amendment creating term limits on members of Congress. I believe there should be a two-term limit for the U.S. Senate and six terms for the House of Representatives. In each instance, members could serve up to 12 years. I would also support an amendment requiring that any law passed by Congress must apply to its own members. I do not intend to work for the repeal of any amendment to the Constitution.

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?

We should reform it. Section 8(a) under the Small Business Act (SBA) is intended to foster business ownership for "individuals who are socially and economically disadvantaged." The program is also designed to "promote the competitive viability" of these firms by "providing contract, technical, and management assistance." But awarding "no bid" contracts is simply wrong, whether the recipient is Native or Non-Native. Instead, 8(a) contracts should be about promoting quality work, competitiveness, and shareholder employment.

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 believe the Denali Commission plays an important role in rural Alaska, and I will certainly advocate for the funding we need for infrastructure improvements that I believe are vital to the State's interests, and that are needed to meet the unique challenges faced in rural Alaska. Hopefully, after the election I will be sitting down with the Commission folks to learn more about what they need, and then I can make a better informed decision about what the appropriate level of funding should be. But I think it would be helpful to look at the needs, do some analysis, and begin to put in place a long-term plan for funding, as opposed to depending upon earmarks.

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?

It is generational theft to run high deficits, year-over-year. The next generations cannot be on the hook for the excesses of our generation. Nevertheless, there are certain circumstances, where the national interest may demand deficit spending: times of war being the most obvious.

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

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

With 640 duplicative federal programs and about 220 programs rated ineffective by the OMB, there is certainly a number of places to cut that would be relatively painless for most Alaskans.

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

Yes, the 16th Amendment authorizes the federal government to collect income tax.

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?

The federal government has a role in ensuring our offshore oil and gas exploration is done safely and in an environmentally conscientious way. However, I did not support the drilling moratorium, which encompassed the relatively shallow water drilling exploration planned in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. The drilling there takes place at much lower pressures and at approximately 200 feet, not over a mile beneath the ocean level.

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?

As a former magistrate in Tok serving a number of rural communities, I saw many people facing these struggles. Jobs and strengthening families are the answers. Jobs can be created by increased access to natural resources. Regional corporations, some with multibillion dollar operations, must also be held to account for failing to create significant employment for shareholders in the bush. Increased oversight and accountability to shareholders can help bring real job opportunities as well.

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

Yes.

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

The military's role is to provide for the United States' common defense and, if war comes, to fight and win our nation's wars. The military's leadership should decide what is best for our armed forces without political pressure. The military should not be used for social experiments.

23. State your position on abortion.

I am unequivocally pro-life. I do not believe that U.S. tax dollars should be used to fund abortions. Unlike my opponent, I would never have voted to repeal the Mexico City Policy, a Reagan-era policy that prohibited "funding of nongovernmental organizations that promote abortion as a method of birth control." Notwithstanding the Hyde Amendment, Senator Sam Brownback stated that repeal of the Mexico City Policy would "send taxpayer dollars to fund abortions overseas."

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?

They should be allowed 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?

The schools should be a place for the free exchange of ideas including all theories of origins. Thousands of scientists have examined the incredible complexities of the world and concluded it must be the result of a Designer. Our own Declaration of Independence states that we are "endowed by our Creator with certain alienable rights." Nevertheless, education should be a matter of local and state discretion, not federal mandate. It's the choice of state and local officials as to how to approach this issue.

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

Repealing and/or defunding Obamacare is critical. Many current doctors are seriously considering leaving the profession if Obamacare is enacted. And many students are increasingly looking toward other professions as a result of what Obamacare may do to the medical profession. The state government could also provide more aggressive student loan repayment programs and other incentives to help encourage doctors to move to where they are needed throughout Alaska.

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

The science regarding climate change is inconclusive. There are undeniable variations in climate over the centuries even before the Industrial Age. Moreover, the science regarding human-caused global warming is inconclusive. What is conclusive is that carbon taxes and cap and trade proposals, like those supported by my opponents, would be very harmful to the Alaskan economy.

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

Alaskans face some of the highest energy costs in the nation, despite being near tremendous natural resources. We need to power our homes and businesses at a reasonable cost. For this and other reasons, I strongly oppose the unconstitutional Cap and Trade legislation. Should we take drastic measures to combat something that may not even exist, burdening our already struggling economy with billions in new taxes and regulations?

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?

I will support reform legislation that is market-based and incentivizes individual responsibility. Unfortunately, the free market plays an increasingly limited role in the current healthcare system. One major aspect of this reform must include allowing and promoting a system of robust employer and/or self-funded tax-free health savings accounts. The more we transition away from government programs, which our nation cannot afford, and the more we empower people to make their own healthcare choices, the better we will be able to truly address the challenge of spiraling healthcare costs.

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?

I support the repeal of Obamacare. Currently nearly half of the state governments in the U.S. have filed suit in federal court because of Obamacare's questionable constitutionality. Further, this legislation adds millions of new beneficiaries to the already broken Medicaid program and relies in part on finding hundreds of billions in savings from the broken and nearly bankrupt Medicare program. Congress could pass legislation to allow purchase of health insurance across state lines, make health insurance policies portable, give tax breaks for the purchase of private insurance, and allow for HSA's.

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

Yes, I will vote for federal legislation that contains earmarks, but will not support specific earmarks unless they have gone through an appropriate vetting process.

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?

No.

As noted above, the science regarding climate change is inconclusive. There have been significant variations in climate even before the Industrial Age. Moreover, listing the polar bear would have a devastating impact on other development in the Arctic. Finally, the polar bear population numbers themselves reflect that it is not threatened. No additional protection is required.

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?

Yes, it has allowed the emergence of a uniquely Alaskan market and provided a significant number of jobs for Alaskans.

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

Why?

Maintain the program as is.

The program has generated significant revenue for local communities who participate, and brought economic development to rural Alaska.

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?

It is a very real problem that must be addressed. We must look for creative solutions beyond just pumping more money into the system, although that may ultimately be part of the solution. Restrictions on physicians could be lifted to allow for pro bono, a supplemental payment methodology, HSA's, or perhaps even premium assistance for supplemental health insurance.