The Anchorage Daily News asked candidates for U.S. House running in the special primary election to answer a series of questions. Read all of their responses here.
TARA M. SWEENEY*, Republican from Anchorage
What in your background qualifies you to represent Alaskans in Congress?
Growing up in rural Alaska, coupled with my professional experiences, make me uniquely qualified to serve Alaskans. I represent the fabric of Alaska. I’m a small business owner and former executive of Arctic Slope Regional Corporation. In 2018, President Donald Trump nominated me to serve as the 13th assistant secretary of Indian affairs at U.S. Interior Department. My career has been focused on advocating for Alaskans at home and fighting for Alaska in Washington.
Why are you running for U.S. Congress in Alaska?
There’s tremendous potential for Alaska and effective leadership matters. Alaska needs a leader with a vision to promote development of our natural resources, maximize our strategic location in the interest of national security and advance the infrastructure that’s necessary for our most remote communities. I’m focused on the future and how we can work together to strengthen Alaska.
What would be your top priority if elected to Congress?
Alaska. Regardless of where you live in Alaska, we need a robust economy and a strong labor force to continue to meet the needs of, and empower, Alaskans. One of my top priorities will be to focus on how to drive investment into our state. As one representative for Alaska, I will build the necessary networks in Congress to ensure that Alaska’s voice is heard. For nearly 50 years Congressman Young fought tirelessly for our state, and I will continue that legacy.
What is your position on abortion?
I do not believe that the federal government should have a role in a woman’s health care decisions. That decision is between a woman and her medical provider, not the government. I also oppose taxpayer dollars being used to pay for abortions. I would vote to codify Roe v. Wade if that was the only intent of the legislation. For example, I could support the proposal put forward by Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins, since it provides the same protections as Roe v. Wade.
If legislation came before the U.S. House that would guarantee the same abortion rights nationwide as the Roe v. Wade decision, how would you vote?
If you support abortion rights, what limitations, if any, do you think should be placed on those rights, such as waiting periods or a specific point in a pregnancy where abortion should no longer be legal?
While I support a woman’s right to choose, I do oppose late-term abortions, except in cases when a women’s life or health is in jeopardy.
Would you support a bill, if it came before the House, to expand the size of the U.S. Supreme Court? Why or why not?
I do not support expanding the size of the Supreme Court. Legislating an expansion would set a reckless precedent and create instability in this institution based on which political party is currently in power.
What do you think should be done by the federal government to address mass shootings?
There is no single or simple fix to this problem. First, we must be willing to get out of our “political corners” and have deep, honest discussions about these tragedies to figure out ways to stop them from happening. Mental health experts, education and public safety professionals, gun rights’ advocates and community leaders must all come to the table. I’m open to considering commonsense and bipartisan proposals to address these serious problems. My goal would be to find compromise that would strengthen school safety measures without sacrificing the rights of responsible Alaskan gun owners.
Do you support gun control legislation? If so, what kind of measures would you support? If not, why not?
Binary questions like this make it difficult, if not impossible, to have a serious conversation on this issue without alienating the parties who must be at the table. That said, I am a steadfast supporter of Alaskans’ Second Amendment rights and could not support measures that would infringe on the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens.
*Note: Sweeney is one of several candidates who are also running in Alaska’s regular U.S. House primary election in August.