Budget / PFD / Comprehensive Fiscal Plan
Since in office I have pushed for a comprehensive fiscal policy and was a part of a bi-partisan working group in 2021 who found a way to put politics aside and provide a sustainable fiscal plan - as yet unacted upon. I believe we must protect the Permanent Fund and PFD in the constitution so we’re done fighting over it every year. Our solution? Simple – lock the PFD in the constitution by saying there “Shall be a PFD paid each year in accordance with the statute, any changes to the statute must be approved by the people”. I support a statutory PFD - it’s the law – I could support a 50/50 PFD “if” it was protected in the constitution. The theme is simple - follow the law. I believe we must change the current constitutional spending cap with one that’s effective & relevant – the current one is not. This would constitutionally prevent over spending moving forward providing a stable tax, business and investment environment in Alaska.
I introduced the amendment on the senate floor providing a statutory PFD (reduced by finance co-chair manipulation). I worked with other legislators to add roughly a billion dollars of critical capital infrastructure statewide including funding for the port of Anchorage, a strategically important deep-water port in Nome and critical infrastructure in the MatSu borough. I also proposed hundreds of millions of operating spending reductions. We’ve had high oil prices, unexpected growth of the permanent fund and economic destruction from covid policies on people and businesses since 2020. Yet I knew we could provide a fully funded operating budget, a significantly increased capital infrastructure budget, and the largest PFD in history without a penny of deficit spending - so we did. And we still put money into our savings accounts! If we have money and need to spend it we should – if we don’t we shouldn’t - simple concept. 2020 & 2021 were tough years due to covid, but 2022 provided an opportunity to play catch up on many important items. It’s unfortunate we didn’t fund a full statutory PFD considering the price of fuel, food and living expenses.
Good news! I was a key participant in repealing SB91, the “soft on crime” bill. A key issue for me in 2018, I’m happy to report the effort was successful. In fact, I was one of the 6 legislators on the “conference” committee which hammered out the final details between the House and Senate in 2019 to repeal SB91.
Binding Caucus, Election and Judicial Reform
I’m pleased to report my effort to end the unethical practice of a binding caucus was successful in the senate. Keeping every legislator free to vote however they think best on every issue is a key tenet of public “service”. I introduced a bill to make use of a binding caucus illegal.
I’ve chosen the hard vs. easy issues. Election reform is contentious but there is room for improvement. With the house under democrat control and the senate republican, I had to find a way to move election reform so I worked with a house democrat and created a bi-partisan election bill. Another area was how our judges are selected so we are in line with our state constitution. We made good progress on a better way to fill judicial seats with a broader pool of applicants and more citizen representation as many other states already do.
Infrastructure and Services
Our Senate district is big and diverse in community and expectations. Transportation, access to affordable and quality healthcare, good education, infrastructure and deferred maintenance, land issues, farming, food security, cheap energy, support of veterans, law enforcement and first responders are important. Jobs and economic growth are critical! As a military leader with experience in the public and private sector, including 5 years as your senator, I have the skills and background to effectively serve you on setting a sustainable flight path for Alaska. Michelle and I ask for your support.
Pro Life & Pro Family
As a Christian, I believe life is a gift and that we need to protect the most vulnerable among us. I also believe we must help women through a very difficult time as they make the best choice for themselves and their children. As a husband, father and grandfather I believe family is the building block of our society and one of the most important jobs we have. To provide for, protect, and love our family.