Alaska will continue to produce oil from the North Slope for the foreseeable future. New energy alternatives will become economic choices as worldwide demand drives the price of oil higher. Alaska must ensure that the business climate for oil exploration remains friendly and welcoming. That does not mean that we give our oil away. As a former slope worker and your representative, I will focus my efforts to open ANWR. I will work tirelessly to form working relationships, to educate, and to convince those politicians who voted against ANWR exploration…especially those within the Democratic Party. Alaska should be allowed to plot its course for resource development and exercise its rights of self determination. More of Alaska should belong to Alaska and Alaskans, and not the Federal Government.
Communities need solutions for cheap and renewable energy or tailored to best fit their needs and geographic location. Cheaper energy provides opportunity. In the right places it produces jobs and new industry.
When politicians talk about building infrastructure for a young state they talk about bricks and mortar or bringing money home as if that is a measure of their success. It is a side effect of short sighted goals with little regard for the future. We must look forward more than 5 or 10 years. We need an infrastructure that pays for itself and not an infrastructure that costs more. Those who have gone before me have championed meritless projects, projects that are not needed, and bridges to nowhere.
Hydroelectric power projects in Alaska should be given our highest priority. ANWR will be a needed project to keep the state’s economy alive and vital in the short term future. Another project is the elusive Alaskan gas pipeline. We need to be open to the idea of gas pipelines running not just from north to south but from sources to need. I will support these projects because in the long run they will benefit Alaskans and the United States while reducing our national trade imbalance. We must change the way we think and the way we do business. We need to make low cost LNG available to Fairbanks and beyond. I will seek a temporary exemption to the Jones act to use existing ships for transporting LNG to Hawaii and even further to Japan. After the Tsunami a year ago, Japan placed a moratorium on nuclear power generation. I see this as an opportunity. Japan’s energy needs create a market for Alaska’s LNG.
We must not overlook the Arctic for new opportunities that will present themselves in the future for trade, travel, tourism and exploration. At the same time, we must protect this delicate environment. We must enact and enforce regulations that prohibit ships and exploration vessels from dumping untreated sewage and waste into Arctic waters. It is equitable that a portion of the revenues from drilling on the OCS in the Arctic go to those communities most affected by the drilling activities.
Alaska supports the military and its bases and so do I. They are an important part of our state’s economy. With our close proximity to Eastern Asia, Alaska is the choice for location of bases and troops. As a nation, we must define the size of our standing army. We must stop enhanced interrogation techniques and take better care of our returning soldiers.
We must protect and nurture our fisheries as if they were children. We cannot jeopardize our fisheries nor should we risk them for a non renewable resource project such as Pebble mine. As a geologist I can tell you that a sulfide mine in an area with a high water table is an accident waiting to happen. Sulfides will combine with water and create sulfuric acid. The result will be ground water with a lower Ph, which means the water will become more acidic.
We must find a way to transition from a resource based state to a state with industries that can create value added products.
My heart goes out to those who cannot find a doctor that accepts new Medicare patients. I am expert in fee schedules and let me tell you, Medicare reimbursement is poor. We need a solution that addresses the poor compensation for providers and removes the barrier that prohibits access. I am happy to see “Pre-Existing Conditions” is no longer an excuse the insurance companies use to deny services just to save a dollar.
The federal government needs to develop the political will to address the tough issues. I will work to repeal the prohibition to negotiate lower drug costs for Medicare recipients. If just the top 10 drugs used in the Medicare program are negotiated to lower rates, it is estimated that the cost savings would be approximately $6 billion dollars according to a 2008 study.
A Veteran commits suicide every 80 minutes in this country. I will work to ensure the VA develops more mental health programs and end the stigma of mental health as the condition that ends military careers.
Historically, education has been the key that unlocked opportunity for those who wanted to get ahead in this world. We need an educational system that prepares students to be competitive not only locally but statewide, nationwide and internationally. We know that the "No Child Left Behind Act" teaches to the goal of taking a test. That is not good enough and one size that fits all just doesn't work in Alaska.
We do need programs that get kids and parents more involved in education from the very beginning of a child's educational experience. We do need to improve the graduation rates of high school students and lower the drop out rates. Students need to know that a high school diploma is the minimum requirement to enter the job market. Without it, fewer job options are available and the ability of a student to transition to an adult that needs no government subsidy will be greatly affected.
Throughout history and in modern day times, men have tried to control women and their rights. This can be observed in other countries and believe me, women are not the equals to men in those societies. Women should be treated as being equal to men and that should never be a question. Women should be paid the same wages for work performed as their male counterparts. Women should earn the same benefits as men and have the same opportunities as men. Women are entering occupations of the traditional male only occupations and they should.
Women should be given the right to Pro Choice and that choice should not be legislated away from them. If women choose otherwise, it is also their right. Women should have the right to choose the method of birth control they and their doctor agree is best for them. We need strong female role models for our daughters and our sons to form a healthy opinion and respect for all genders.