Senate District I - Elvi Gray-Jackson

Elvi Gray-Jackson (Photo Courtesy Shalem Kitter)

Name: Elvi Gray-Jackson

District: Senate District I

Area: Anchorage

Party Affiliation: Democrat

Where were you born? Newark, New Jersey

If you weren't born in Alaska, when did you come here? June 19, 1982

Age on election day:

If you've attended college, which schools did you attend? What's your highest degree achieved? Associate of Arts

What is or was your main career? Budget Analyst

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

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

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

Why are you running for office?
After 34 years serving in Municipal Government, nine of which were on the Anchorage Assembly, I'm honored to have the opportunity to work for the citizens of Anchorage once again. Public service is my passion and I want to continue to represent the interests of the community and assist them in navigating through government. My first priority has always been representing the people of Anchorage. Now, more than ever, we need leaders in Juneau that are focused on working together and putting Alaskans first. I am a leader and will work diligently to make a difference at the State level.

What are the most important issues facing Alaska?
Establishing a comprehensive and sustainable fiscal plan – We must develop an all-encompassing, long-term, sustainable fiscal plan.
Public Safety – We must ensure that revenue sharing is maintained to provide funding to communities to pay for police officers, firefighters, and other emergency service personnel to ensure a safe community.
Infrastructure – We must maintain and improve Alaska’s infrastructure which will contribute to our economic growth and provide sustainable, good paying jobs for Alaska’s hardworking men and women.
Education -We must inflation proof and forward fund the Base Student Allocation and adequately fund the University of Alaska system.

What would you do to reduce crime in Alaska?
My plan is to support maintaining revenue sharing that assists in providing funds for communities to hire the needed police officers and state troopers. I would also re-visit SB91 and maintain sections of the Bill that have worked and delete sections that have contributed to the spike in criminal activity. I also feel it is important to educate the public on ways to keep ourselves safe.

Should dividends be paid under the original dividend formula?
Yes. We must constitutionally protect the Permanent Fund for current and future generations.

Should Permanent Fund earnings be used to pay for state government? How much?
Yes. 50%

What, if anything would you cut from the budget?
I don’t feel we should continue to “cut” the budget. We should look for efficiencies within every department, scrutinize spending, and ensure that program fees and tax collections are adequately and effectively collected. When efficiencies are detected and savings are realized, this action could avoid laying off employees while continuing to save money through attrition. I feel any type of tax should be considered as a last resort.

Should Alaska have new or increased taxes? What would you suggest?
See above answer

Have humans contributed to climate change, and if so, does the state bear any responsibility to undo some of the effects?
Human activities are driving the increase in CO2 concentrations. Emissions from cars and power plants and heat trapping emissions from burning coal and other pollution particles within aerosols is also a human contribution to climate change.

I feel the State could address some of the human-caused contributions to climate change and revisit existing regulations to help make our communities and environment safer. In 2017, I co-sponsored an ordinance with Assembly Member Dick Traini to protect the health, safety, and general welfare of the citizens and the environment by establishing pesticide-free policies and restrictions for parks, public lands and properties.

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 agree. Expanding Medicaid enabled Alaskans to get the care they needed to join or stay in the workforce and also helped those coming out of prison get substance abuse treatment. Ultimately, it reduced medical costs for all of us by reducing the amount of care hospitals provide that no one pays for. And it pumped millions of federal dollars into Alaska's economy at a time when we really needed an economic boost. Initially, the Federal government paid 100% of the cost and this will change to 90/10 by 2020. This represents a 10% match in return for the Federal government paying for most of coverage in the same manner the Municipally of Anchorage and the State provide a match for Federal capital projects. Whatever the exact dollar amount is, it is worth paying to ensure that our citizens have the health care they need.