Candidate Q&A: Alaska House District 13 — Ken McCarty

The Anchorage Daily News asked candidates for the Alaska Legislature in Southcentral Alaska to answer a series of issue questions. Read all of them here.

Ken McCarty | Republican | Occupation: Business Owner / psychotherapist | Age: 62 | Residence: Chugiak | Relevant experience or prior offices held: Alaska Professional Licensing MFT Board Member; Trustee of Alaska Mental Health Trust; President Birchwood Airport Association; business owner. | mccartyforalaska.com

Why are you running for office?

We need critical, outside the box thinkers with operational experience to solve the difficult challenges we face today.

The coronavirus pandemic has changed life in Alaska. In addition to ongoing public health threats, the state has seen serious, long-term impacts to its economy and jobs, education system, tourism and the ability for residents to travel. Have state leaders handled the pandemic effectively? Explain.

The pandemic has been a moving target with many facets of information. The effectiveness of decision-making coincided with the timing of industry, which became a perfect storm to challenge anyone at the helm.

What role should the state play in repairing economic damage in Alaska from the pandemic?

Alaska has opportunity to seize new business and industry. Financial support must go to current business as well as expedite regulation challenges.

Describe two pressing issues facing your district. What do you plan to do about them if elected?

1) Businesses must be freed to operate thus availing employment. Stimulus funds were intended for the workforce. 2) Students and teachers want to go back to the classroom. And, education needs to avail professional trade certification.

How would you create a sustainable state operating budget that doesn’t borrow annually from the state’s savings to meet shortfalls?

Maintain Premise Government by assessing real cash flow income and weigh it with constitutional mandated expenses. Also, evaluate the efficacy of technology in the workforce.

What is your vision for the Alaska Permanent Fund and the future of the dividend program?

The Permanent Fund is a Trust for all Alaskans, which as the corpus grows it avails sustainability for Alaska.

The state is projecting a $2.3 billion deficit for the next fiscal year if the Permanent Fund dividend is paid using the traditional formula in state law. If no dividend is paid, the deficit would be about $300 million. Do you support cutting services to pay a larger dividend? If so, what services would you cut first?

Constitutional premise of government programs are the first criteria. A secondary criteria is the efficacy of programs based on objective data analysis. A third criteria is to determine the actual funds available in contrast with workforce impact to Alaskans.

What are your ideas to improve Alaska’s elementary and high schools?

Education must lead to a trade / career. Would you pay $100 to make a $1,000 or $1,000 to make $100? Currently it appears we are making our students do the later. Most students are not on a college track rather trade career, yet we do not encourage it. A 14-yr-old should have the opportunity to start an apprenticeship track to be a professional journeyman by the age of 18 / 19. We need equal opportunity to allow professional trade school to assist our high school students like we allow college credit with the Alaska University system for those desiring a college trade.

What is your vision for the University of Alaska?

To be fully accredited with viable career, workforce ready graduates.

What would you do to reduce high rates of sexual assault and domestic violence in Alaska?

Education / awareness. Return to the RESPECT program with media promotion by our elders, leaders, etc. Be tough on drugs and sex traffic issues.

What are your ideas to stabilize, grow and diversify Alaska’s economy?

1) Government should be a venture capitalist in that of investing and availing low interest loans for small business. 2) Mobility of products are crucial for a world market, which includes connecting the Alaska rail system with Canada and the Lower 48. 3) inexpensive electrical energy from burn off gas from the slope.

What’s your position on the proposed Pebble mine?

Pebble mine like all proposed projects for Alaska must be given fair process. If the process is conclusive for viability then move forward. Let us not scare business and industry because we deny due process.

What other important issue would you like to discuss with voters?

Alaska is built on traditional values of community, collective ingenuity, sacrifice, and tenacity. Entitlement is not the Alaskan spirit. We must come together with the values that have made us a great State in order to overcome the challenges of today.