The Daily News asked candidates for statewide office in the Aug. 16 Alaska primary and special U.S. House elections to answer a series of issue and biographical questions to help voters understand their positions. Some questions were suggested by readers. Read all the responses here.
Patricia Chesbro • Party: Democrat • Occupation: Retired educator • Age: 73 • Residence: Wasilla • www.chesbroforalaska.com/
Relevant experience or prior offices held
40 year educator; 5 1/2 years on Mat Su Borough Planning Commission
Why are you running for office?
I am running to protect the future for our children and grandchildren and better the lives of Alaskans and Americans. I am concerned about the affordability crisis for families and young people. Despite a “booming” economy, prices of housing, childcare, medical care, and higher education have been increasing for years. We need to implement corrective policies that can help our young people achieve the American dream and codify their civil and human rights. I would like to regain and retain reproductive rights, curb gun violence through sensible measures, address the increasingly dire climate crisis, ensure that all persons have the rights to love and marry those they choose, promote a vibrant education system, and ensure voting rights for all.
Name two big problems or challenges currently facing Alaska and how you plan to address them if elected.
Alaska’s over-reliance on oil production has provided benefits and disadvantages. We must invest in alternative energy sources as we wean ourselves from this dependence. Secondly, we must develop a stable fiscal plan so that we leave our “boom and bust” economy behind. Part of that plan includes investing in our greatest resource, Alaskans, to for a sustainable future.
Do you believe Joe Biden legitimately won the 2020 presidential election? If you believe there was fraud, where and how do you think it took place?
Joe Biden won the 2020 election.
Supporters of former President Donald Trump violently attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2020. Do you believe President Trump should be held responsible for the events of Jan. 6?
How will you promote putting aside partisan politics to address complex issues in Congress?
Compromise is not giving up or giving in. We must regain our civil dialogue around the many complex issues we face. I am a willing listener and a collaborative and cooperative person by nature.
What should the federal government be doing to curb inflation and strengthen the U.S. economy?
Prices of necessary goods have been increasing faster than workers’ wages for several years. Childcare costs grew by about 2000 percent while premiums for employer-based health insurance rose by 47 percent. The average price for brand-name drugs on Medicare Part D rose by 236 percent. These prices hit all age groups. The Federal government can certainly negotiate better drug prices. Congress should implement laws to support child care and early childhood education. The government can improve our health care costs by eliminating the expenses of insurance companies. All of these efforts, ones which other nations have successfully employed, can help to curb costs and strengthen the workers that fuel this economy.
Would you support ending the filibuster to make it easier to pass legislation? Would you support any carve outs to the filibuster for key issues such as abortion access?
The filibuster is an inherently unfair system. It needs to be abandoned in favor of majority rule.
Public trust in the Supreme Court is declining. What do you think should be done to improve trust in the court?
Supreme Court Justices have lifetime terms to insulate them from political pressures. However, this rule has now been used to bring in younger people who are appointed on partisan bases. We should pass a law to require Justices to be reaffirmed every 10 years, giving the Senate the opportunity to examine the Justices’ decisions.
Do you think Congress should pass legislation to limit or protect abortion access?
The recent ruling to overturn 50 years of abortion access was a disaster inflicted on Americans by those in the Senate who knowingly confirmed the majority on the Court in spite of strong support by Americans and Alaskans for abortion access. We must fight to protect reproductive rights. We must codify Roe v. Wade in federal law and prohibit diminishment of reproductive rights by overzealous state laws.
What specific actions, if any, should the U.S. government take to curb gun violence?
There are many intersecting strategies to curb gun violence. Each weapon, especially in houses with children and teens, should have tamper-proof trigger locks. Proof of gun-safety and safe-storage training should be required when anyone purchases a firearm. We should buy back weapons from those who no longer wish to have them. Installing a waiting time for gun purchase could help to give angry or suicidal people time to think. I see no reason to continue to manufacture and sell assault weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines. Each state should have well-constructed red flag laws. I support robust research into gun violence, especially the causes and preventions of mass shootings.
How do you think new resource development projects in Alaska should be balanced with the interests of environmental protection and climate change mitigation?
We have already seen catastrophic effects on coastal areas, salmon, ecosystems, and the Alaskan lifestyle due to climate change. We should halt further oil development in new areas and look for and fund renewable energy strategies, which will create jobs in Alaska. We must wean ourselves away from dependence on the oil industry to protect Alaska for future generations.
Do you believe the federal government is well positioned to continue to address the COVID-19 pandemic and other future pandemics that may emerge?
I think the federal government is working to address the pandemic, despite those who would deny using the tools at hand. Americans must take responsibility for their role in curbing this and future pandemics.
The federal infrastructure bill, which was voted for by all members of Alaska’s congressional delegation, stands to bring millions in federal funding to projects in Alaska. How would you ensure Alaska maximizes the benefits of this bill?
Each year, local governments submit local capital projects to the state, and these requests should be used to make decisions. We must promote those projects that will provide equitable access to Alaskans throughout the state with resources such as broadband access and renewable energy projects.
Should transgender athletes be allowed to compete in sports according to the gender with which they identify?
What should be done, if anything, to change federal immigration policies?
We are a nation of immigrants. We need to understand why so many are fleeing their homelands and implement policies that make their lives better in their home countries.
What is the country’s biggest national security threat?
Our national security is threatened by internal actors that would bring down our Democracy by violent means Beyond that, the ongoing epidemic of gun violence has created fear and distrust of our fellow citizens. Children are not secure in schools or their neighborhoods; shoppers are not secure in their grocery stores or on the street. Externally, we must remain vigilant of threats from foreign nations, including cyber attacks, which could cripple our financial and infrastructure systems.
Where do you want Alaska and the U.S. to be five years from now in regard to emissions reductions and adaptation to the effects of climate change?
Alaska, the U.S., and the world need to work together to attain the goal of the Paris Agreement to keep global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius. Creating new jobs in renewable energy is a win for the economy and the environment.
What other important issue would you like to discuss?
Alaskans have a new method of voting in the general election. Ranked choice voting means that you no longer need to vote strategically to keep an unacceptable candidate from being elected. You can rank the candidate that aligns most with your values first, an acceptable candidate second, a slightly less acceptable third, and leave your last choice for a candidate that doesn’t meet with your approval. If you find that your values align with mine, make sure to Choose Chesbro as your first choice and rank the other candidates accordingly.
Remember that in the August 16 primary, you will vote for ONE candidate for US Senate, and the top four go to the general election on November 8.