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.
Sean Thorne • Party: Libertarian • Occupation: Pilot • Age: 31 • Residence: Anchorage • picksean.com
Relevant experience or prior offices held
Former Army Officer
Why are you running for office?
Did not answer
Name two big problems or challenges currently facing Alaska and how you plan to address them if elected.
Firstly, economic opportunity. We need to remove obstacles to Alaskan economic growth, and give business an easy opportunity to thrive here. It is getting harder and harder for young Alaskans to get a good start here. With the amount of control that the federal bureaucracies wield over Alaska, it is understandable why companies would not want to invest in us. We are smart, we are capable and we know what’s best for us. Why do we enable detached bureaucrats 4,000 miles away to make sweeping decisions on our behalf? We would be much better off if decisions on these issues were made locally, where the person accountable actually lives here.
Secondly, Republicans and Democrats have given America 30 Trillion in debt and 20 years of wars. We absolutely have to stop. I will fight against federal spending, and I will submit legislation to end the AUMF (Authorization of Use of Military Force) to being our troops home and ensure congress takes back the power to make war from the executive.
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?
I do not believe that the election was stolen, but we still have a big problem and that is that people have doubts. Every presidential election in this century has been questioned and contested by the losing side. We should have investigated the 2020 election, to put an end to the doubts around it. Because the DOJ did not investigate, there are still many people who do not believe the results. We need a non-partisan election system that is both accessible and secure enough that the results are beyond questioning, but both Republicans and Democrats want a system that leans in their favor.
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?
No, but it is also not something that we should forget. I also do not blame President Obama for the Dallas police shooting like some do. Just because you turn up the heat, doesn’t mean you should be legally liable when things boil over. The right tends to want to pretend that Jan 6 was nothing, but the left likes to pretend like it’s as bad as terrorists shooting up and burning down capital hill. It’s political theater. To me, the scariest thing about Jan 6 is how we cannot agree on a simple truth of what happened. It is very telling of our cultural division.
How will you promote putting aside partisan politics to address complex issues in Congress?
I firmly despise political parties and factionalism. Alaskans do not cleanly fit into box A or box B. I will work with anyone, from any side, in good faith to solve an issue. I will also call out the lies and cheating wherever I see it, instead of having blinders to one side. I do not believe in caucusing, and I will not be summoned to toe anyone’s line. I will do everything in my power to promote honest discourse, to bring transparency, and to prop up people with real solutions instead of digging into political lines.
What should the federal government be doing to curb inflation and strengthen the U.S. economy?
Stop. Spending. Money! Our politicians keep spending unimaginable amounts of money, handing out free checks, and printing as much cash as possible and then have the audacity to pretend to be shocked when it backfires and we get massive inflation. I absolutely support radically lowering spending, ending the Federal Reserve, and returning our currency to a standard. I also firmly stand against adopting a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), which is starting to be a solution promoted by the same people who put us in this mess.
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?
Absolutely not. Federal legislation has to be slow and methodical. Anytime a federal power is changed, you have to think what your worse enemy could do with that new power, because with the cyclical nature of politics, they will certainly someday hold that power for themselves. The filibuster might be annoying from time to time, but it also prevents us from getting steamrolled with knee jerk, emotional based legislation.
Public trust in the Supreme Court is declining. What do you think should be done to improve trust in the court?
Stop promoting activist judges for either side. The Supreme Court’s job is to interpret the constitutionality of law, not to do mental gymnastics to try to spin a decision to support their team. Ideally, their personal beliefs would be totally separate from their legal beliefs. I will support nominees that believe in the law instead of political zealots.
Do you think Congress should pass legislation to limit or protect abortion access?
The only decision I would be interested in from congress would be to define personhood in the context of abortion. To me, at this point in time, I tend to see that as the point that the fetus could survive autonomously. Other than that, I would do everything I could to keep the government out of it from either side. I wouldn’t support banning abortion, and I wouldn’t support funding it either. As much as possible, I do not want the federal government to have power over your life.
What specific actions, if any, should the U.S. government take to curb gun violence?
Stop preventing people from defending themselves. I can promise you, hands down, no question, that I am the most pro-gun person running in this election. The problem is with people, not with tools. I firmly believe that an armed society is a polite society, and I believe in people’s constitutionally guaranteed right to keep and bear arms.
How do you think new resource development projects in Alaska should be balanced with the interests of environmental protection and climate change mitigation?
Anyone who cares about our planet should absolutely want resource development done in Alaska. I have spend time in well over a dozen countries, and I have seen what resource extraction looks like in those places. We do it better, safer and cleaner than anywhere else. All the things that we no longer produce in America are still being produced somewhere. I would rather them be produced here, where we make good jobs and actually care about the implications of what we are doing. Is it better to drill oil here, or to beg for it from authoritarian countries that have legal indentured servitude and kill people for being gay? Is it better to sustainably log here, or buy from countries that clear cut rainforest with no long term vision of sustainability? Should we mine rare earth minerals here, or send other peoples kids off to die in generational foreign wars to secure their mines? I guess I disagree with most federal politicians on these questions, because I would rather it be done here.
Do you believe the federal government is well positioned to continue to address the COVID-19 pandemic and other future pandemics that may emerge?
Absolutely not. They have done a terrible job, lied repeatedly, and done possibly irreparable damage to the middle class. I stand against federal decision making on any lockdown or mandate.
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?
At this point, we need to invest in projects that will maximize financial returns into the future, and make long term jobs. I would not have supported this bill though. We are over 30 trillion in debt, and repeatedly congress says ‘this next bill will be the one that turns it around!’ and yet it never is. We keep going deeper and deeper into debt. We have to stop omnibus spending and giant pork barrel bills if we are to have any future as a country.
Should transgender athletes be allowed to compete in sports according to the gender with which they identify?
I think that rules to a game can be sorted out by people outside of the political arena. There are far more important things that I would rather politicians be focused on, like balancing the budget, stopping foreign wars, figuring out why the US government is still selling guns to Al Qaeda in Syria, fighting human trafficking, etc.
What should be done, if anything, to change federal immigration policies?
We need major immigration reform. I want people to come here for a better life, but we need to ensure that people are coming to our country through proper ports of entry, and that we have a more effective and streamline system for them to do so the right way.
What is the country’s biggest national security threat?
Cyber security. People tend to forget that our modern technology is a very new thing. The iPhone only came out in 2007. The more interlinked everything gets, the more threats we face. From China ripping off our intellectual properties, to unconstitutional domestic surveillance, to data theft, we have a lot of issues to address in the digital realm. The more digital technology grows, the more complex and numerous these threats will become.
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?
In five years, I would like to see Alaska mining the resources for America to produce green technology instead of our current system of shutting down Alaskan industry and buying things like lithium from places that use child labor or worse. Everything has to come from somewhere, look at the things in your pocket and wonder where the components came from. Right now we spend a lot of government money on green projects that are made obsolete in a few years by newer technology, and then the old thing ends up in a dump, but a lot of connected people get rich in the middle. I believe that over time, advances in technology will have better answers to our problems.
What other important issue would you like to discuss?
Unlike most people in the political arena, I do not believe in using my personal moral framework to create laws to tell you how to live your life. I don’t think that I know best for your personal life. I believe in you, I believe your right to make decisions for yourself and your family, and I believe Alaska should be the Last Frontier end of the road where everyone can be who they want to in peace. I know what I believe, and I will advocate based on my values, but I will always support you having ultimate control of your life.