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David Guttenberg, candidate for Alaska State Representative District 4, answers questions about the issues

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

David Guttenberg, Democrat

State Representative, District 4

Why are you running for office?

I believe in Alaska, our state has a great future and I'm want to leave a legacy that future generations will look back and say what we did the right thing. We must do a better job living up to our constitutional obligation that our resources are for the maximum benefit of the people. Our greatest resource is our children and we must give them the educational tools that allows them to do tomorrow what we are trying to do today, only better.

The biggest problem facing the state of Alaska is

The greatest challenge facing Alaska is distance and delivering our responsibilities across all of Alaska. We can close the gap by using todays technology's, things that weren't imaginable able until recently. We can delivery education, medicine and all kinds of business opportunities by bringing all of Alaska in to the 21st century by expanding broadband to meet our current and future needs. The problem is we are going too slow and not taking charge , its a failure of leadership.

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

Broadband, band width and internet access. Every department of state, the courts, clinics, hospital, every village, town and city, every school, university and business will tell you that they need better access and more band width. If you want to grow the economy gives Alaskans the tools to get it done.

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?

I hope your not asking for a dollar figure? I believe government should be run lean, but not inefficiently. As we face tighter budgets, both the operating and capitol budgets need to be managed in a manner that doesn't hurt the economy but still builds an Alaska that moves us forward.

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

So far to facilitate a gas pipe line the governor has given away the farm, Norway is often used as an example of how its done right. Norway took charge and now controls the development of its resources and they know who its being developed for, its people.

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?

We are a hydrocarbon state. The way we manage and tax our resources should be constantly under review. The credits, incentives, deductions and royalty relief all need to be analyzed for effectiveness. Is it doing what we expect it to be doing, is it putting more oil in the pipeline and is it driving down the cost of power in Alaska, are Alaskans getting the jobs from our resources they should be?

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


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

What the state should be doing is building the infrastructure that allows Alaskans to use their talents and skills to build an industry that has great potential. We should be building sound and light studios on our campus' that can be used by our students and leased to any production company doing business in Alaska and not just giving credits based on a single production that leaves nothing behind but some payroll.

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):

Generally higher than it should be

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

It is a leadership problem, its another example of lacking a moral compass. Once you know that the problem exists, that there are clear issues that demoralize your ranks you have an obligation to act. My plan is to elect a new governor and/or hold legislative hearing to better understand the problem and make the fix a transparent process.

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

Children need to come to school rested, fed and ready to learn. From that starting point the resources need to be in the classroom, that means teachers. Alaska needs to respect teaching as a profession and make teaching a sought after career. We need to give the our children the tools they need to succeed.

What are your suggestions to increase accountability of public schools?

The report card our children bring home is not just their grade, its their parents grade, the teaches, principles and administrators grade as well as the governor and legislators grade. The child must be ready, we are then the responsible party. We must do a better job, our state depends on it.

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. No

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

The University of Alaska is an economic engine and we need to treat it like one. We have to stop treating the university like a political hot potato. There is a great deal of research being done on the changing climate, Our university needs to be the center of the arctic research effort.

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


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?

The basic problem with environmental regulation for off shore exploration, drilling and shipping is the lack of infrastructure to support any large concerted effort. Local communities are the first responders but after that what? The Alaska Arctic Policy Commission is trying to address the issues but unless the legislature takes a larger role the gaps will widen and accidents will happen and our waters will suffer. Out of sight doesn't mean its not our problem.

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

The question of the health of our transportation system comes up often. The basic premise is that we fund the glamorous projects and let much needed maintenance go by the way side. Its true, but I don't believe passing a constitutional amendment is the answer.

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?

We have another example of failure to lead. The most important thing the state needs to do is to drive down the cost of energy for ALL Alaskans. Before we export any gas all Alaskans need to benefit with low energy costs. Before we build the multi-billion dollar projects we must know true benefits and costs and have the suppressed reports released.

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 what is called "pro choice." I don't think it is the government's role to such important decisions for women. We can minimize the number of unwanted pregnancies by providing women with more contraceptive choices.

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

The question wouldn't be asked if the governor didn't reach out beyond our borders to find someone that met his philosophical conditions. If there was an appropriate board or commission to appoint a non Alaskan to it would be easy to justify and we would understand.

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

Yes. We are recognized as having the best judicial system in the country, that comes from choosing from the best pool of candidates. There are some that are trying to dumb it down, to make those with less then the highest qualifications and ratings eligible for appointment. That clearly is foolish.

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?



Age: 63

Occupation: Retired Construction worker

Current employer: SOA Jan 2003

Employment history:

1974-2002 Construction worker, member Laborers Local 942

1998-2002 Legislative finance staff, Rep John Davies

Previous public offices held: N/A

Previous unsuccessful runs for office: 1996 State Senate

Postsecondary education: N/A

Military service: N/A

Spouse's name: Widower

Children: Yes

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