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Politics

Daniel H. Ortiz Alaska State Representative District 36, answers questions about the issues

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

Daniel H. "Dan" Ortiz, (Non-Affiliated) Nominating Petition Candidate

State Representative District 36

Why are you running for office?

I have served the youth of our community as a high school U.S. History, Economics, Debate, and Current Issues teacher for 32 years. It was my job to be knowledgeable about the economic/political/social issues facing our country, state and local community, and how government at the three levels dealt with those issues. I have always wanted to run for political office, and, now that my children are grown, I am in a place in my life where I have the time to serve my state as a public official.

The biggest problem facing the state of Alaska is

The biggest problem facing the state of Alaska is declining revenue and the resulting deficit spending that has occurred. The administration and legislature needs to work together for the common good of Alaskan residents and prioritize spending with the goal of balancing the budget.

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

1. Continue to push towards completing the natural gas pipeline project,

preferably one that is Alaskan owned.

2. Work towards reestablishing a timber industry in the Southeast Region.

3. Look for ways to enhance our fishing industry by expanding our mariculture industry.

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?

A level that matches realistic revenue projections so that our budgets are balanced with revenues. The majority of cuts need to come from the capital budget, through a prioritization process. The state is currently looking at assisting or being the major funding source for several major capital projects. While they all might be desirable in times of higher revenue, right now the state can't afford them all.

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

The state should strongly consider floating the financing for construction of the LNG pipeline so that it can be the sole owner of the pipeline and the gas that flows from it and the eventual profits that will result from it.

We should offer the construction and management contracts to private pipeline manufacturing companies, but Alaska would be the sole owner.

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?

While I personally voted to repeal SB 21, the majority of the state voters voted to uphold the law so I would not support attempts at changing SB 21 during the upcoming legislative session. The administration, legislature and the media should monitor closely the oil companies exploration and development activities and make them known to the Alaskan public.

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

Before implementing a tax or making changes to the Permanent Fund Dividend, the goal and priority of the upcoming legislature should be to take the steps necessary to stop deficit spending this fiscal year, thus preventing our savings from going any lower than they currently are.

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

I do not know how much the state subsidy program of the film industry currently costs, nor do I know the economic benefits that it brings. I'm unable to offer an educated opinion on the subject at this time, but I will seek advice on this for future decisions.

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

Generally lower than it should be

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

About right

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

About right

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

There should be an independent review of the State of Alaska's handling of the ANG sexual harassment issue. Then, our state administration should report to the Legislature on a quarterly basis as to the progress that is being made at restoring the morale and accountability within the Alaska National Guard.

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

1. Providing quality and equality of educational opportunities throughout the diverse regions of the state. Plan: Added incentives to retain quality teachers in rural areas. Continued investment in technology infrastructure.

2. Meeting the needs of students who are living at or below poverty level: Plan:Provide access to statewide preschool, it will save money in the long run.

Not enough characters to address 3 challenges and plans.

What are your suggestions to increase accountability of public schools?

1. To provide more mentoring and peer to peer evaluation for inexperienced teachers.

2. Expect collaboration between teachers and administration at all stages of the evaluation process, including working together to evaluate data to set goals

3. The public should be provided with regular updates on school/ student progress.

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?

No I would not. The result would be greater inequality of educational opportunities between the rich and the poor and between gifted and less gifted students.

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

Continuing to make investments in technology that would foster broader availability of educational opportunities across the state.

To further foster programs to train and educate students for the vocations and careers that are specific to Alaska. For example ship building, medicine and responsible development of our rich natural resource base.

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

I strongly support the expansion of Medicaid. It will save the state money.

It will provide medical insurance to at least 15 to 20 thousand Alaskans that need. It will create jobs in the health care industry. Medicaid expansion is supported by the Anchorage and AK State Chamber of Commerce.

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?

I am not knowledgable enough on this topic to provide an opinion on the subject of the question.

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

The Alaska Marine Highway needs more attention and support from the State of Alaska. It is the primary transportation infrastructure to the Southeast region.

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?

No a priority should be placed on the the large diameter gas line project and the Susitana dam project.

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 life in my personal life and within my family unit. However, Roe vs. Wade is the law of the land and until and if that law is reversed by the U.S. Supreme court the state needs to foster policies that comply with the law. As a state legislator I would not be looking to change the status quo.

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

Only when there is a clear lack of people living within the state that have the skills, knowledge necessary to adequately serve on the state board or commission. Appointing a non-Alaskan should hardly ever take place.

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

I need more information on this topic before I can respond, though as a citizen, I have respect and admiration for the judges I have encountered in southeast Alaska.

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

About right

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

Bio

Age: 56

Occupation: Retired Teacher 7/1/14

Current employer: None

Employment history: 32 year public education teacher/principal/coach @ Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District. -

I have held a variety of summer positions during that time period, including running my own house painting business business, working in the tourist industry and running a youth summer jobs program for Ketchikan Indian Corporation.

Previous public offices held: None

Previous unsuccessful runs for office: None

Postsecondary education: BA History: Seattle Pacific University 77-81

MST History :University of Wisconsin Eau Claire 2001

Teaching Coursework in AP U.S. History & AP Economics

Military service: None

Spouse's name: Lori K. Ortiz

Children: Molly Kate 24, Lucy 21, Sam 18.

Website: N/A

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