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.
Roselynn Cacy | Democrat | Occupation: Tax advisor/ educator | Age: 73 | Residence: Anchorage | Relevant experience or prior offices held: Director, University of Alaska Adult Learning Center; Director, Literacy Council of Alaska; Associate Director for Fiscal Affairs and Workplace Literacy, Anchorage Literacy; Algebra, Business, Tax and Aquacize Instructor; Office Manager, US Sen. Mike Gravel; Vice President, Old Seward/Oceanview Community Council | RoselynnCacy.com
Why are you running for office?
My grandchildren need to go to school safely. Alaskans built a pipeline when others thought it was impossible. Alaskans build worksites and our elders build homes in the most challenging environment on earth. Our construction workers know how to test for pollutants, clean air and water. Our unions know how to promote the safety of our workers. If they can do it on the North Slope, they can do it at my granddaughter’s kindergarten. Our officials need to may it happen. With your help, we will.
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.
State leaders have used their authority to keep the statistics better in Alaska than in the Lower-48 States. To really solve the problem, we need National and World-Wide coordination and cooperation. Small businesses, particularly in the hospitality and travel industry, have been paying a heavy price.
What role should the state play in repairing economic damage in Alaska from the pandemic?
The state should provide a public health plan to maximize the safety of Alaskans, serve as a conduit for COVID-19 grants and other funding sources to Alaskans, identify and assist groups hit the hardest, and provide the leadership for Alaska to be the model for our country. Alaskans know how to survive and prosper in very difficult situations. By partnering with outside universities, hospitals, governments and business, we can move forward.
Describe two pressing issues facing your district. What do you plan to do about them if elected?
1) Safely opening schools and businesses:
Take my flu shot. Test for the COVID-19. Follow up with contact tracing and services for those testing Positive. Provide ventilation systems that work. Test the wastewater for early identification of positive cases. Support the Public Health System with the resources they need,
2) Increase in crime in our area
Support public safety workers and their cooperation with communities. Support education and training so that individuals find jobs that are too important to risk with criminal activity. Promote economic development.
How would you create a sustainable state operating budget that doesn’t borrow annually from the state’s savings to meet shortfalls?
I would look at the complete State of Alaska budget, including the Restricted Funds, not just the General. I would make sure that the fees, taxes, and tuition paid by the working individuals and business are being used to provide the government services that are needed for them to operate and grow.
Alaska needs a fair share of its resource development.
Non residents and out-of-state businesses need to pay their share of Alaska revenue to Alaska instead of other states.
We need to work together to determine what is most important and how we can grow our economy.
What is your vision for the Alaska Permanent Fund and the future of the dividend program?
The Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend exists to protect the Alaska Permanent Fund. Without a dividend the Permanent Fund would not last. Alaska needs to develop a comprehensive sustainable budget so that we can live within our means and not spend down our savings or take the dividends away that protect the Fund.
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?
The answer is not in the General Fund alone. We must look at the whole budget and the restricted funds to see what the working people of Alaska are already doing for the state.
What are your ideas to improve Alaska’s elementary and high schools?
Every Alaskan needs to have the opportunity to graduate high school with the education and skills needed today and tomorrow. We should not be happy with a normal curve where some students succeed and some fail. Every student needs to be accepted and successful. Students need to be able to read by third grade or get additional help.
We should not ever give up on any students. If something interrupts their education, they should be able to come back to school. As Director of the UAA Adult Learning Center, I helped thousands of Alaskans earn the High School Diploma or GED a little later than usual.
We need to value our teachers with more security in their employment and defined benefits in their retirement.
What is your vision for the University of Alaska?
The University of Alaska needs to train contact tracers, nurses, teachers, social workers and fire fighters. We need scientists, biologists, engineers and mathematicians to win the battles against diseases. We need to challenge educators and researchers to cooperate with other universities, private industries, and the State of Alaska to bring us solutions and paths forward.
What would you do to reduce high rates of sexual assault and domestic violence in Alaska?
Listen to and respect every individual. Encourage everyone to come forward as soon as there are problems and provide space and opportunities so that they can get out of dangerous situations safely and without fear.
What are your ideas to stabilize, grow and diversify Alaska’s economy?
I listen to the ideas of others. We have tremendous opportunities in resource and energy development that is supported by the local community. Alaska’s location is critical for international trade and travel. Farmer’s Markets are just a taste of what can be done in agriculture. Fishing and seafood development will continue. Health services are critical. Technology and new discoveries can happen with support of our schools, universities, and business partnerships.
What’s your position on the proposed Pebble mine?
I support responsible resource development in Alaska: The proposed Pebble mine is not responsible development.
What other important issue would you like to discuss with voters?
What can we do together that will remove the barriers and help you go forward with your dreams for your Alaskan family and business?