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Politics

Anna I. Fairclough, candidate for Alaska State Senate District G, answers questions about the issues

  • Author: Alaska News
  • Updated: July 8, 2016
  • Published October 29, 2014

Anna I. Fairclough, Republican

State Senate, District G

Why are you running for office?

I love living in Alaska, our people and our community and have a long history of listening, collaborating, and solving problems. It is important to have a variety of perspectives on all issues facing our state and individuals who are willing to learn, listen, and lead. I believe Alaska's greatest opportunities are before us and we need to work hard than ever to provide those opportunities to future generations.

The biggest problem facing the state of Alaska is

A decline in oil production and a lower price per barrel of oil than in past years is Alaska's biggest problem. We have a revenue problem and a spending problem; Alaska needs a fiscal plan.

Describe three ways in which the state should try to grow and diversify Alaska's economy

Legislate, Facilitate, and Cooperate – A great example of this is the incredible progress we have made in the last four years on moving forward with an Alaska natural gas pipeline. It took legislation, the creation of a quasi-state organization (AGDC), and cooperation with the multiple partners to move this multi-billion dollar project forward.

What amount of state spending do you believe is sustainable? If cuts need to be made, where should most of the money come from, the operations budget or the capital budget?

Our current budget funding state government, public safety, transportation, and other much-needed programs is not sustainable at our current revenue projections. The state needs a fiscal plan to work through different scenarios in order to identify where cuts would be most effective and efficient.

What additional steps can the state take to promote construction of a natural gas pipeline from the North Slope?

Elect Governor Sean Parnell. We need a leader and continuity with our gas line team to continue the momentum we have built over the past several years. We are on a path to see this project to fruition; we must continue to work together to accomplish this goal for all Alaskans.

The voters have chosen Senate Bill 21 or the More Alaska Production Act to generate most of the state's tax revenues. How will you determine whether this tax structure is effective? Do you think any changes should be made to the law in the upcoming legislative session?

I will ask the Department of Revenue to run a comparison between the old tax plan and the More Alaska Production Act; I believe Alaska is receiving more oil tax revenue from the new tax structure under the current oil prices. I do not believe Alaska should make any significant changes to the current taxing structure.

What additional steps can the state take to promote construction of a natural gas pipeline from the North Slope?

Oil pays Alaska's bills with approximately 90% of Alaska's general fund revenue coming from oil production. A widespread tax such as a sales or income tax will not replace the revenue oil provides for Alaska. Alaskans do not support the use of their PFD's to pay for state services.

Should the state subsidy program for films and reality television programs continue? Explain.

No. Alaska should develop a matrix for assessing and evaluating the cost and success of all our tax credits.

Taxation on oil and gas production in Alaska is ___ (Generally higher than it should be, About right; Generally lower than it should be, other):

Higher than most oil producing states and nations.

Taxation on other industries in Alaska is ___ (Generally higher than it should be, About right; Generally lower than it should be, other):

Alaska should review its tax credit system.

Taxation on individual citizens in Alaska is ___ (Generally higher than it should be, About right; Generally lower than it should be, other):

Alaska has the lowest state tax rate in the nation and significantly high local property tax rates.

What are your specific plans to address the serious problems of leadership, morale and accountability within the Alaska National Guard?

It is the legislature's job to provide oversight and accountability for the actions taken by all departments in the executive branch. I will work with the Governor to make sure his selection for the next group of leaders in the Alaska National Guard have the character and experience to implement culture change. Like many in the public I am concerned with the stories that have been published regarding our Alaska National Guard.

What are Alaska's three biggest education challenges? What is your plan to address each of them?

The acceptance of the status quo, the lack of understanding of the current fiscal climate and quality teacher training are three huge educational challenges. In order to effect change in our education system, we all must reach a general understanding and agreement on what it means to provide a basic, adequate education for our children and the costs associated with the current system. We must invest in our teachers and find ways to involve them in promoting change.

What are your suggestions to increase accountability of public schools?

Our teachers are doing an outstanding job when faced with challenging classroom situations. We need to speak directly with teachers and agree on a common philosophy and measurement tool to assess students' learning, and identify teacher training tools to support teachers in 21st century classrooms.

Would you support a constitutional amendment that would allow public funds to be spent on private or religious K-12 education? If such an amendment were to pass, would you then support voucher or some similar grant to parents of state funds that they could spend on private or religious education for their children?

Yes, I support the use of state funds in private and religious schools. I also support a voucher type program for those families choosing alternative education options for their children. I only support these funding options if they can be implemented without the loss of funding to the Public School System.

What are your plans for improving the quality of education offered through the University of Alaska system?

I have not heard complaints from my constituents about the quality of education offered at the University of Alaska; our professors are talented and committed to their students.

Do you support or oppose expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act? Explain.

The Affordable Care Act is already unafforable for many and will soon be unaffordable for many more. Medicaid is currently a very broken system that needs to be fixed before expansion. Once the bleeding is stopped, then expansion can be considered. I currently oppose expansion. $17 TRILLION dollars is a huge National debt, and growing. We need to provide care to those who are unable to care for themselves, but in doing so we need to find a way to live within our means.

Are you confident that the current level of state environmental regulation and oversight of offshore oil and gas drilling and shipping is adequate to prevent a major spill in Alaska? If not, where are we deficient and what will you propose to achieve adequate protection?

Unfortunately, there are no guarantees in life and that includes business operations and developments. What we can do is set strict regulations requiring good planning, a quality review process, and severe penalties for those who fail to follow our laws and regulations that protect our people, our environment, and our resources. I value our state employees; they are professionals who do all they can to anticipate, advise, and regulate oil development activities in Alaska.

What is your assessment of Alaska's transportation system? What, if anything, would you change?

Our transportation system is adequate but has billions of dollars of needed maintenance work. I would support a bill to create a Transportation Fund.

The Legislature has approved the use of state funds for four mega-projects: the Knik Arm Crossing, the Susitna-Watana dam and two gas line projects. Can the state afford all four, or should one or more be dropped? If so, which?

There will not be two gas lines, all these projects will not happen at the same time and we are not paying all of our share of the cost with "money in the bank". The Alaska LNG project is the most critical project for Alaska. Should this project be built, it has the potential to reduce energy costs statewide, create thousands of jobs for Alaskans, and provide an alternative revenue stream to support other mega projects like the ones listed above.

State your position on abortion. When should it be allowed, and when should government pay for it? Do you anticipate pushing any legislation, policies or budget proposals that would change the status quo in Alaska?

I am pro-family and pro-life. When the mother's life is in jeopardy, a doctor should consult with the family and the mother and reach a decision. Government should not be involved in any way- financial or otherwise. I do not plan on introducing any legislation regarding this very personal issue.

When is it appropriate to appoint a non-Alaskan to a state board or commission?

When their expertise is needed and when the law allows appointment.

Are you satisfied with the process by which judges are selected and appointed in Alaska? Explain.

No. The process appears to be subjective.

The number of Alaska State Troopers and Village Public Safety Officers is ____ (More than necessary, about right, less than necessary):

Less than necessary

If you answered more or less, what specific steps would you take to achieve the right level?

I believe it is crucial to work with local communities to efficiently and effectively address their public safety needs and identify where these resources are lacking. Alaska is facing a revenue shortfall. We need a plan and we need to prioritize our investments. We need to have a discussion that is honest and open about how we spend money and what the challenges are in changing course.

Bio

Age: 57

Occupation: State Senator

Current employer: The people of Alaska

Employment history:

Development Director - Hospice of Anchorage - July 2007 to June 2013

Executive Director - Standing Together Against Rape (STAR) - October 2002 to January 2007

Chair, Vice-Chair, Member - Anchorage Assembly - April 1999 to December 2006

Membership Services - United Food & Commercial Workers Local 1496 - October 1996 to March 1999

Night Manger - Carrs Quality Centers - 1993 to 1996

Manger - JCPenney Anchorage, AK - 1982 to 1990

Previous public offices held:

Alaska State Senator - District M, Eagle River, East Anchorage - January 2012 to January 2015

Alaska State Representative - District 17, Eagle River - January 2007 to January 2012

Member - Anchorage Assembly, Municipality of Anchorage - April 1999 to December 2006

Member - Eagle River Valley Community Council - 1996 to1999

President, Vice-President, Member - Homestead Elementary PTA - 1993 to 1999

Previous unsuccessful runs for office: N/A

Postsecondary education:

Anchorage Community College, Medical Assisting - 1976 to 1977

University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Personal Finance - 1979University of Alaska, Anchorage - Accounting, Managerial Accounting - 1998 to 1999

Military service: N/A

Spouse's name: John MacKinnon

Children: Cory & Garret

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