House District 6 - Ed Alexander

(Photo Courtesy Edward Alexander)

Name: Ed Alexander

District: House District 6

Area: Fairbanks

Party Affiliation: Democrat

Where were you born? Fairbanks

If you weren't born in Alaska, when did you come here? Born here, grew up in Fort Yukon

Age on election day: 42

If you've attended college, which schools did you attend? What's your highest degree achieved?
University of Alaska Fairbanks. Masters in Secondary Education

What is or was your main career?
Teacher

If you've held or run for public office before, which one(s)?
2nd Chief, Gwichyaa Zhee Gwich'in Tribal Government

If you have a spouse or significant other whom you live with, what is their name?
Alisa Alexander

If you have children, what are their first names and ages?
Kaihinjik (16), Ch'eelil (6), Shreevyaa(5), Vatsaii Vee (3)

Why are you running for office?
Alaska is facing significant challenges like the highest unemployment rate, high crime rates, and a stagnant economy. I felt unhappy with the direction the state is headed and wanted to contribute and make some changes. People in rural Interior Alaska need someone who understands their concerns, I don't think the incumbent is in touch.

What are the most important issues facing Alaska?
Alaska is having an identity crisis. We're giving away our resources right now, and we're messing around with the PFD. We're supposed to be an owner state, the people own the resources and the dividend according to our Constitution, and we need people who understand that and will fight for our fair share of both. That's the source of our budgetary woes, our high crime rate, our lack of funding to maintain our roads and so forth.

What would you do to reduce crime in Alaska?
Just across the border in Canada they have two Royal Canadian Mounted Police in each small community. We can put Troopers into our small towns and keep the peace. We shouldn't have all of the Troopers clustered around Anchorage, the entire state doesn't need to subsidize their police forces. We also need greater access to drug and alcohol counseling, a very high percentage of people who are incarcerated have substance abuse problems, we need to fix that.

Should dividends be paid under the original dividend formula?
Yes. The way we fund State government is by going back and getting our fair share of our resources. We used to get 30% of the value of the oil flowing through the pipeline and now we get around 12%. That's unacceptable. And it also goes against Alaska's Constitution which says Alaskans should receive maximum benefit for our resources. 12% doesn't sound like the maximum benefit to me. We need to increase oil taxes, instead of give our PFD's to the state.

Should Permanent Fund earnings be used to pay for state government? How much?
No. Dipping into the earnings reserve of the Permanent Fund is a dangerous thing. Where does it stop? The Legislature already spent out 16 billion in savings over the last five years, what's to stop them from spending out the earnings reserve? The legislature hasn't shown the backbone to stand up to the oil companies.

What, if anything would you cut from the budget?
I would cut the oil tax giveaway of our resources. We need to increase Department of Transportation maintenance funding. Kids shouldn't be sleeping on the floor of the Kenny Lake School unable to get home because the road isn't getting plowed. Servicemen are sleeping on floors in Northway because their cars are breaking down, and they arrive half frozen because there's no cell service. We need to do more. Not less. Let's put people back to work in this state.

Should Alaska have new or increased taxes? What would you suggest?
We should fix our oil taxation system. We don't need a sales tax which will unfairly target rural people who pay 2-5 times as much for basic goods, and who will be taxed 2-5 times as much in sales tax. An income tax doesn't make much sense either. Why should Alaska tax Peter and Paul to pay Conoco? No, we need to fix our oil taxation and get our Constitutionally mandated fair share for our resources.

Have humans contributed to climate change, and if so, does the state bear any responsibility to undo some of the effects?
Yes. The science is clear. People who want to go against clear the clear science on this issue shouldn't serve in public office. The state bears responsibility to make good decisions. We could for example install solar in our rural communities and cut the annual cost of our Power Cost Equalization program in half. We could eliminate half of the most carbon intensive fuels in the state, while saving hundreds of millions of dollars annually. It’s also good for business. We need solutions like that, that meet a higher bar, but serve the greater good.

Do you agree or disagree with Gov. Walker's decision to expand Medicaid in 2014? How much do you believe that decision cost the state treasury?
I support it. The question isn't merely how much it cost the treasury. The decision allowed for communities like Tok to have a clinic and access to medical doctors. The citizens of Tok deserve that. Additionally the area happens to have a very high percentage of veterans, don't they deserve to have access to health care too? The expansion makes services available to people who aren't medicaid recipients, and that's important to note too. Everyone should have access to health care. I believe single payer is the way to go. We shouldn't have people unable to go to a doctor or a dentist in this country. We live in the richest state in the richest nation on earth, people shouldn't die from lacking access to insulin or having other health care needs go unmet.