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.
THOMAS LAMB | Nonpartisan, Democratic nominee | Occupation: Vendor | Age: 62 | Residence: Wasilla | Relevant experience or prior offices held: No prior offices held | lamb4senate.com
Why are you running for office?
My three opponents support a full PFD - given the fiscal crisis I can’t make the promise of a full PFD.
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.
No. From the outset I have been outspoken that it was mishandled. No mask mandate by state after lockdown ended.
What role should the state play in repairing economic damage in Alaska from the pandemic?
Ensure unemployment benefits cover the pandemic.
Describe two pressing issues facing your district. What do you plan to do about them if elected?
Reinstate debt reimbursement by state. Fully fund education.
How would you create a sustainable state operating budget that doesn’t borrow annually from the state’s savings to meet shortfalls?
The PFD is on the table - decentralized school system to put money directly into each school - blockchain technology to stop Medicaid fraud.
What is your vision for the Alaska Permanent Fund and the future of the dividend program?
Constitutional protect but for next five years use part for building Knik Arm Bridge.
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?
First use revenue from NRP-A to create education endowment to fund UAA. Blockchain tech to stop Medicaid fraud. Decentralize public schools.
What are your ideas to improve Alaska’s elementary and high schools?
Decentralized school system. Fully fund by state - end bonding for maintenance. If a school needs a roof then it needs to be fixed without having to vote on bond.
What is your vision for the University of Alaska?
Education endowment - 11th and 12th graders attending UAA tech training.
What would you do to reduce high rates of sexual assault and domestic violence in Alaska?
Aggressive investigations and prosecution. Ensure victims are protected from harassment.
What are your ideas to stabilize, grow and diversify Alaska’s economy?
Create opportunity zones through Alaska that offer corporate tax breaks for a limited time.
What’s your position on the proposed Pebble mine?
No. First it doesn’t meet mitigation laws - climatological data is old. And China is buying up Canadian gold mines.
What other important issue would you like to discuss with voters?
I’m not going to promise a full PFD as my opponents are making - it can’t be met. Part of the PFD will be needed to build the Knik Arm Bridge.
I will work with federal legislators to push to build a navy oceanic research facility at Port MacKenzie.
The research facility will have a dual role. One - to study hydrothermal vents in the Gulf of Alaska/North Pacific and document the impact the vents are having on the climate and fisheries. Two - as we recently saw in the Bering Sea where the Russian navy harassed our fishing fleet, there was no show of force or protection by our Navy.
My background in meteorology and experience in forecasting weather in Alaska presented me with the knowledge and understanding how the lack of data can make it difficult to forecast the formation of weather systems.
The education system in Alaska needs to be decentralized where state funding goes directly into the school. The costs of maintenance, operation and personnel needed to effectively teach needs to be fully funded by the state and operate as if it were a private school.
Property tax relief should be applied under a decentralized system.