Senate District A - Pete Kelly

(Photo Courtesy Pete Kelly)

Name: Pete Kelly

District: Senate District A

Area: Fairbanks

Party Affiliation: Republican

Where were you born? Fairbanks

If you weren't born in Alaska, when did you come here? Born Here

Age on election day: 62

If you've attended college, which schools did you attend? What's your highest degree achieved?
UAF, Graduated Liberty University in Virginia with a BS in Management

What is or was your main career?
Own Alaska Adventure Riders

If you've held or run for public office before, which one(s)?
State Senate

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

If you have children, what are their first names and ages?
Three Children

Why are you running for office?
Government should be limited and people should be free

What are the most important issues facing Alaska?
What is the appropriate level of a government for a state this size? How do we unshackle the private sector and create wealth and opportunities in the process? How do we reduce crime and deal with the opioid crisis.

What would you do to reduce crime in Alaska?
I would concentrate on the recidivism rate (the rate at which people who have already gone to prison return within three years of being released) Twelve thousand prisoners will be released from prison on any given year in Alaska and our recidivism rate is about 65%. Therefore, 7800 of the prisoners released this year will be back in prison within three years. In our current system we take prisoners and warehouse them with the hope that they will magically change after they have been in the warehouse long enough. It doesn't work. We have them in our custody - we should do what it takes to make them productive citizens. Learning to read and write, getting job skills and a GED are just a fraction of the things that can be done to turn them from crime. Bring down recidivism and you bring down crime.

Should dividends be paid under the original dividend formula?
This year I am almost certain it will be paid under the original formula. However, the formula is flawed and could collapse under another market correction. In 2009 the account to pay the dividend got down to a hundred thousand dollars and could have resulted in no dividend at all and even a stalling of the program. We dodged that bullet but it exposed the problem. I support paying a healthy dividend, but that formula is not sacred. If there is something wrong with it we are duty bound to at least try to make it better.

Should Permanent Fund earnings be used to pay for state government? How much?
Yes. But remember the House Democrats tried to raid that account and that is why we had to pass SB 26 which was limiter on how much could be spent from that account. The Democrats tried funding a monstrously bloated budget entirely with money from the Permanent Fund reserve. This shocked Wall-street investors and forced an emergency meeting by the Permanent Fund board. By forcing a fire sale on investments it would have caused more than 500 million in investment losses. Fortunately, Senate Republicans unceremoniously killed the bill. We can spend from it but we must proceed with caution and prudence.

What, if anything would you cut from the budget?
Reduce medicaid.

Should Alaska have new or increased taxes? What would you suggest?
No

Have humans contributed to climate change, and if so, does the state bear any responsibility to undo some of the effects?
I do not think climate change is man made and I hold that opinion in light of the substantial and credible research that is now emerging that is leaning in that direction. There are too many other factors that may effect our climate that are on a scale far beyond anything mankind is capable of controlling: i.e. sunspot activity, volcanic eruptions and the natural leakage of gasses and particulates coming from the planet. Unfortunately, the political world has compromised the debate on this topic. When Al Gore and the UN Commission on Climate change took on the issue it became doomed to reside in the world of politics and pandering. Politicians won't figure the climate out. However, over time it is possible we can reform the climate narrative that was corrupted by Al Gore and the UN and we can actually examine it with the disinterested clarity of science.

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?
Disagree. It has been costly, but frankly, normal Medicaid growth has been responsible for a greater increase. The danger of expansion is twofold. First, the amount the Feds cover will decrease over the years and the state's share will naturally increase. Second, Medicaid pays providers at a higher rate than Medicare,. Naturally health care providers have more incentive to take on Medicaid patients while turning away Medicare patients. Our seniors have enough difficulty getting access to health care. We should not crowd them out of their doctor's office by filling it with able bodied Medicaid users.