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.
Paul A Bauer | Republican | Occupation: US DOL employment facilitator-JBER/SE AK/Kodiak | Age: 65 | Residence: Anchorage | Relevant experience or prior offices held: Anchorage Assembly - Budget, Education, Public Safety, Audit and Elections Committee; Mayor’s Commissioner on Public Facilities; Community Council President; Community Conflict Resolution Mediator; Commandant of the Alaska Military Youth Challenge Program; Airline Caterer Security Business, and Operations Manager | PaulforAlaska.com
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 State handled the situation as best they could given the pandemic and health research information. They acted in the best interests of the people by keeping the public informed with medical guidance.
Understandably, tourism suffered because of travel restrictions and self-imposed isolation. I am confident a recovery will come for the reason for our great state’s ambiance. Our resurgence will be an atmosphere of paradise for those who want to get-away.
COVID-19 has made us aware of diverse ways to educate our children, helped parents and guardians to see the educational challenges for teachers. A better job of creating standard COVID-19 safe protocols for the school districts could have helped. Children with instruction and practice could learn safely in schools.
The state did not give information and guidance on new ways to implement safe business practices during COVID-19 instead, we let a renegade mayor “run the show.” Slow acting leadership or inexperienced staff?
What role should the state play in repairing economic damage in Alaska from the pandemic?
Take the role of the counselor to the public, a leader of the state bureaucracy, and partner with the private sector to rebuild the economy.
Earmark stimulus projects into infrastructures, such as renewable energy, digital networks, and railroad transportation. Fund the state’s Small Business Administration to instill investment and education for small businesses to appear.
Increase work (vocational) training programs and promote work-sharing programs in the state agencies to continue to offer employment opportunities. State employees need to be part of the solution working alongside the public-private sector.
Describe two pressing issues facing your district. What do you plan to do about them if elected?
#1 is the Budget, to keep the state from implementing revenue alternatives in the future like taxing my people, the District. But work on other investments such as our resource development and start marketing strategies outside the state for new business.
#2 Economic growth, jobs, and employment education initiatives with improving community bonding. Re-tooling our workforce
How would you create a sustainable state operating budget that doesn’t borrow annually from the state’s savings to meet shortfalls?
First, conduct a comprehensive review of the State Budget and our revenue volatility. Who are the budget influencers and what impact are they having on our government decisions? Report and educate the public with the results. Second, make policy that all government agencies send plans for future goals and strategies for achieving them. Thirdly, legislate that agencies must have performance-oriented measures in-place before more money is given.
Agencies must defend every dollar spent.
Appropriations to agencies are not law, the Alaska Constitutions and statutes that regulate our fiscal responsibilities are the law. Once the money is appropriated, it can be taken away!
It is the public responsibility to influence political leaders to demand performance-driven outcomes. Elect candidates that have life experiences and will take risks to change how we do business.
What is your vision for the Alaska Permanent Fund and the future of the dividend program?
Unless we can make Alaska more self-sufficient and less cost in living, the Alaska PFD is permanent for me. Follow the law of distribution, FULL-PFD, until a vote of the people wishes otherwise.
We should practice getting our budget and fiscal responsibly in-order before we talk about dropping the PFD.
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?
Looks like we need to change the Legislature and put more budget-conscious leaders with experience in Juneau. During these times of uncertainties and uneasiness, we need to seriously look at how we do business.
Develop a long-term strategic plan to make Alaska self-sufficient and budget within our means. Plan for diversified growth.
We need leaders who create alternative ways of thinking and living. Paying off one-time to balance a budget other politician created is acceptance of and willingness to continue to actively support and take part in excessive spending plans.
What do you do the following year and next when you deplete the entire deficit for a one-time relief?
When I get chosen, I will follow the research, the experts, and others to make the challenging decisions on what is a budget priority for reducing services.
Government administration and administrators might be my first look.
What are your ideas to improve Alaska’s elementary and high schools?
Implement performance-based measures to all schools and educational professionals. Education managers must develop comprehensive PLANS on how they will meet SMART goals for success.
Outcome-oriented management coming from experienced and proven leaders.
Include Parents and Community partners and leaders. Start a business adopt a school program. Schools should remain open for student activities, teacher development, and community use. More money toward outcome education rather than the bureaucracy.
Working with Alaska’s at-risk-youth native and non-native gave me a tremendous understanding of our youth and the processes to engage them for educational success.
What is your vision for the University of Alaska?
I want our University system to become more technical, trade, vocational training ready to be the hub for learning for Alaska’s industry. We need trained labor that is willing and able to work for Alaska’s future and get paid well.
No more than two years focus on liberal arts curriculums, Associates degrees, and certificates.
Higher-level 4-year intuitions are for the students to go out-of-state by choice. Save your PFD in the meantime.
Centralize the University operations and management in one location.
What would you do to reduce high rates of sexual assault and domestic violence in Alaska?
Engagement must begin at the adolescent education level. Promote social norms and civic education in high school. Opportunities to empower and support men as well as girls equally. Job security and education.
Parents and guardians are fighting and competing with outside influencers like the sex trade and entertainment industry. Start teaching and mentoring youth about concern for others in the school system, teach the basic laws of immorality and wrongful behaviors.
Lessen the stigmatization of men for minor infractions of the law that create obstacles for employment
Drug enforcement is paramount for adolescents.
What are your ideas to stabilize, grow and diversify Alaska’s economy?
Make Alaska business-friendly.
Capitalize on Communist China’s economic losses by developing small industries and businesses for Americans. Steal CCP industry. China can ship and distribute manufacturing goods over 6,100 miles, should not Alaska do the same at over 2,300 miles. Let Alaska fill-in the void for China’s losses.
Explore opportunities NOW, with innovative technologies in the agricultural industry for food self-sufficiency for Alaska.
What’s your position on the proposed Pebble mine?
Over several years, there have been much information and disinformation about this mine’s development. I support safe natural resource development. It helps with your PFD, our nation’s security, and state revenues.
Pebble was estimated to be the second-largest ore deposit of its type in the world in terms of the value of the contained metal, competing with the world’s largest salmon run. Currently, the benefit goes to commercial fishing caught in Alaska and processed out-of-state to other states and Communist China.
I would support an introductory development stage for the mine using a small size operation as a model to the potential full-scale operation. What would it look like and measure the effects over a brief period? Assess the damages if any and decide the future.
What other important issue would you like to discuss with voters?
Public Safety, Justice, and Corrections. Our crime has a lot to due with a harsh seasonal environment, lack of good jobs, poor economy with limited diversity, and an absence of civics and employment education.
Non-profit organizations need to be held accountable for their lack of success before public dollars are distributed.
A discussion on the excessive cost of housing needs to be addressed from the impacts of Homeowner Associations (HOA) operations. One of my District’s Russian Jack condominium housing Association charges $230 per month/per tenant for dues. The dues go to Board members and minimal landscaping upkeep. The housing complex is in disarray.
Need State oversight using Better Business and Consumer Affairs activism.