Dan Sullivan answers questions about issues in the 2014 election for U.S. Senate

Dan Sullivan - Republican

Office: U.S. Senate. Other candidates: Mark Begich (D), Mark Fish (L), Ted Gianoutsos (NA).

Why are you running for office?

I believe our country is fundamentally going in the wrong direction and our kids' future is at risk. The federal government is making it harder for Alaska's small businesses, families, and local communities to thrive, but we can change that. Alaska has so much to offer -- incredible resources and a can-do spirit that can conquer any challenge. It's time to do the hard work and get our country back on track. There is nothing that's wrong with America that can't be fixed by what's right with Alaska.

Alaska has the highest rate of welfare recipients among all 50 states. What steps would you take to reduce that figure?

The best way to reduce the need for welfare is to create good jobs. That means putting our faith in Alaska. We need to return control of responsible resource development to the state and unlock Alaska's energy potential. We need to roll back the avalanche of new regulations under President Obama and Mark Begich so Alaska's small businesses can thrive and create good jobs. We need to end top-down federal mandates and empower local schools and parents to do what makes sense for their kids.

Alaskans often criticize federal overreach; at the same time, the federal government is as important as oil to the economy, supporting about one-third of the state's jobs and pumping billions of dollars annually into Alaska. Would you advocate more or less federal spending in Alaska? What programs would you reduce or increase to achieve your goal?

Alaska is a young state that needs infrastructure spending. We need to keep supporting Alaskan development on the federal level. We also need to empower Alaskans to develop our own infrastructure and create good jobs here in Alaska. We should cut red tape and reform the federal permitting process. We also need more access to federal lands. Our lands belong to the people, not the Interior Department.


What are three bills you will introduce or three efforts you will undertake -- or some combination -- to improve the state's economy?

I will fight to stop federal obstruction of responsible development and unlock Alaska's energy potential. I will also stand up for Alaskan workers and roll back the flood of new regulations that is killing our ability to create good jobs. Finally, I'll make sure we're honoring Alaska's thousands of veterans with the benefits and care they have earned. The federal government should be a partner in prosperity, not an obstacle to progress.

What are three bills you will introduce or three efforts you will undertake -- or some combination -- to address social issues in Alaska such as the high rates of suicide, sexual abuse and domestic violence?

We can't have a healthy society without a healthy economy. We need strong families, economic opportunity, and good jobs to instill optimism and end the cycle of pain and hardship. On domestic violence and sexual assault specifically, I will build upon my work as Attorney General. I pursued tougher penalties, more law enforcement, and expanded services and advocates for victims. We should implement these same ideas at the federal level.

What authority should Alaska Native tribes and villages have over civil and criminal justice matters, and what rights should they have to regulate hunting and fishing on native land?

I support Alaska's practice of honoring tribal protective orders and believe cooperation is necessary to keep our communities safe. I will work to help tribal courts build their capacity to handle cases. Alaskans deserve the protection of trained law enforcement, whether tribal or state, when they're victims of violent crimes. I also think we must simplify the management of hunting and fishing to ensure that local communities drive the discussion, not bureaucrats thousands of miles away.

What is your assessment of President Obama's foreign policy? What do you think is the United States' role in the world?

I believe in American Exceptionalism. America is the greatest force for good and the brightest beacon of freedom the world has ever known. Unfortunately, President Obama doesn't agree. He's been leading from behind and showing weakness. Weakness is provocative. Our allies no longer trust us and our adversaries no longer fear us. We must restore strong American leadership on the world stage. Given my background, I'll be ready to lead on foreign policy and Alaska's strategic importance on day one.

Would you take steps to change or repeal the Affordable Care Act? What would the changes be? If you favor repeal, what would you replace it with?

Thousands of Alaskans kicked off their plans. Exploding insurance costs. Huge cuts to Medicare. These are unacceptable outcomes. We must replace ObamaCare with freedom-based solutions that make sense for Alaska. We need increased transparency, tort reform, and high risk pools to cover pre-existing conditions. We should allow Alaskans to purchase plans across state lines and customize plans that fit their needs, and give families and individuals the same healthcare tax deduction as companies.

Should the United States have "boots on the ground" in the ongoing conflicts in Syria and Iraq? If not, what are the circumstances under which we should consider such action? And what other action should the U.S. take against Sunni militants in the Middle East?

We already have combat troops engaged in the region-our pilots conducting air strikes. Taking all options off the table only emboldens our enemies. I would certainly support the use of ground troops to protect American personnel in the region. The best way to support our troops is to provide them with a clearly-defined mission to defend our national security and enable them to pursue it relentlessly – as part of a comprehensive strategy that emphasizes all elements of American power.

What role do human-caused emissions of greenhouse gases play in climate change?

That's a question scientists are still debating. Mark Begich pretends this question is completely settled as justification for backing Obama Administration policies that penalize the middle class, but don't actually stop climate change. What's important going forward is that Alaska has a voice in environmental discussions that respects our role as a sovereign government and the only Arctic state, rather than treating us as just another stakeholder in the development of Arctic and climate policy.

What legislation currently in Congress comes closest to the policy you would advocate for dealing with climate change?

Any comprehensive effort to address climate change must involve all major world economies, like China and India. We shouldn't lock up America's resources and kill tens of thousands of good jobs by continuing to pursue the President's anti-energy policies. Alaska has a unique role as America's only Arctic state. We need a seat at the table as the other sovereign, not just another stakeholder. Alaska has the highest environmental standards in the world, and I'll protect Alaska's environment.

Coastal erosion is a serious issue in a number of rural Alaska villages, with discussions about relocating some communities. Do you believe this is appropriate or realistic? Explain.


As we see communities falling victim to erosion, discussions about relocation are completely appropriate. There needs to be consensus at the local level on the best local path forward. Further, as we continue to face this issue throughout Alaska, it is important to build out infrastructure that can adapt to the changing environment in the event of further relocation. Coastal erosion is happening, and it's time to lead on this issue.

How important a priority is reducing the federal deficit? Explain.

Career politicians like Mark Begich have kicked the can down the road and refused to make hard choices. It's what has caused the national debt to nearly double to over $17 trillion in the last six years. Reducing our deficit and debt is a moral imperative. We can't keep saddling our kids with crippling debt to pay for today's irresponsible spending. To reduce our deficit and debt, we must grow our economy, insist that the federal government live within its means with a balanced budget amendment.

If you had to give the current Congress a letter grade, A through F, what grade would you give and why?

The Senate has let partisan posturing get in the way of results. Mark Begich is in Senate leadership and helps set the Senate's agenda, yet he hasn't made Alaska's priorities the Senate's priorities. He's only passed two bills -- and one of them was to rename a building. He wants an A for effort, but he deserves an F for results. Leadership is about bringing people together to actually get real results for Alaska. That's what my career has been about, and it's what I'll do in the Senate.

Should the U.S. tax code be simplified? Is it fair?

Yes, we must simplify the tax code. No, it's not fair. Our current system favors giant corporations with huge accounting departments while disadvantaging small businesses and the average Alaskan family. This has gotten worse thanks to Mark Begich's deciding vote for all the hidden taxes in ObamaCare. We should simplify the tax code so that the average person can do their own taxes. We need to close loopholes in order to level the playing field for small business and incentivize job creation.

Name a specific federal environmental regulation you'd like to see rolled back, and why.


The Endangered Species Act is in desperate need of reform. Rather than meeting its original goal of rebuilding populations of endangered species, it has become a mechanism for far-left environmentalist groups to tie up responsible development in court for years on end. We can protect endangered species while also respecting private property rights, streamlining litigation, and insisting upon decisions based in scientific analysis that include a more defined role for states in ESA decisions.

Name a federal environmental regulation that you think provides important protections for Alaskans.

I believe the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council is America's most effective fisheries management body. Much of its allocation and management is based on science and federal regulatory schemes. As Alaska's senator, I will make it a priority to protect the jurisdiction and the Alaska majority of the Council and ensure that Alaska's federal fisheries continue to be managed sustainably, and based in sound science, not politics. This will significantly benefit our coastal communities.



Age: 49

Occupation: Attorney/Lieutenant Colonel U.S. Marine Corps Reserve

Current employer: United States Marine Corps Reserve

Employment history:

-Lieutenant Colonel, United States Marine Corps, 1993-present

-Commissioner, Alaska Department of Natural Resources, 2010-2013

-Attorney General, Alaska Department of Law, 2009-2010

-U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, US State Department, 2006-2009


-Director, White House National Security Council Staff, 2002-2004

-Associate, Perkins Coie, 2000-2002

-Judicial Law Clerk, Chief Justice Warren Matthews, Alaska Supreme Court, 1998-1999

-Judicial Law Clerk, Judge Andrew Kleinfeld, US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, 1997-1998

Previous public offices held:

-Commissioner of Alaska Department of Natural Resources, 2010-2013


-Alaska Attorney General, 2009-2010

-Co-Chair, Rural Justice Commission, 2009-2010

-Chair, Governor's Rural Action Subcabinet, 2009-2010

-Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council, 2009-2010

-United States Assistant Secretary of State for Economic, Energy, and Business Affairs, 2006-2009

Previous unsuccessful runs for office: N/A

Postsecondary education: J.D./Master's of Science in Foreign Service, cum laude, Georgetown University, 1993. B.A. in Economics, magna cum laude, Harvard University, 1987

Military service: Lieutenant Colonel, United States Marine Corps, 1993-present, infantry and reconnaissance officer. Currently the commanding officer of 6th Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company (ANGLICO) Marine Forces Reserve.

Spouse's name: Julie Fate Sullivan

Children: Meghan (17), Isabella (15), Laurel (13)

Alaska Dispatch News asked each candidate in the major races in Alaska this year to answer a series of written issue questions. Responses were limited to 500 characters.