A decorated math teacher with a bit of oilfield experience is throwing his hat into the ring for lieutenant governor, after getting fed up with the lack of education funding as well as the big tax cut for the state's oil producers.
"We can't continue to flat-fund public education while giving oil companies a billion dollars without any accountability," said Bob Williams, a Palmer High graduate and the Alaska Teacher of the Year in 2009, when he taught math at Colony High School in the Mat-Su.
"Cutting education positions is like asking Valley farmers to cut costs by not planting seed potatoes in the spring. Education is part of the solution to every single challenge we face as a state."
Williams filed to run as a Democratic candidate on Tuesday, according to the Division of Elections. The only other candidate who has filed to run for that seat is Sen. Lesil McGuire, a Republican. Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan has said he might run for the Republican nomination. Candidates have until June 1, 2014 to file.
A Mat-Su teacher, Williams studied petroleum engineering at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and worked two summers for Unocal on offshore platforms near Nikiski. He's won a slew of teaching awards.
As lieutenant governor, he'd fight to ensure that rural Alaska enjoys early-voting opportunities, he said. "We need leadership at the Division of Elections to support voting rights and access to early voting for all Alaskans whether they live in Barrow, St. Lawrence Island, Shemya or anywhere in between," Williams said.
The campaign, which already includes a web site, will visit Juneau Aug. 17-18, Kenai on Aug. 24 and in Fairbanks in late September.
Contact Alex DeMarban at alex(at)alaskadispatch.com