PHILOSOPHY IN GOVERNING - I look forward to building a team that will put Alaskans first! I believe in fairness and inclusion and will call on the public to work together for Alaska's common good. I refuse to use divisive tactics that polarize us for political gain. As Mayor of Wasilla, the fastest growing area of Alaska; as President of the Alaska Conference of Mayor; as Chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission; and as a business owner and mom, I approached issues with a fair, balanced, common sense approach. I love the challenge of hiring and appointing the best people to serve with me and I will bring this positive approach to Alaska as Governor. In building a public service team, my commitment to my home state is to always put Alaskans first and never allow special interests to take advantage of us. I know that government has its place, and it should be limited. My focus is on education, public safety, infrastructure and access to our resources. As manager of our vast public resources, the Governor must act as an effective CEO on behalf of all Alaskans in negotiating the best deals for the state, and I am prepared to tackle that challenge.
GASLINE - I am a conservative Republican, a firm believer in free market capitalism. A free market system allows all parties to compete, which ensures the best and most competitive project emerges, and ensures a fair, democratic process. I will communicate progress on gasline negotiations to the public.
My Administration will pursue the plan that is best for ALL Alaskans. All qualified and viable proposals and applicants will be considered. How do we get there? Through a two-step process.
First, we acknowledge that the Stranded Gas Development Act (SGDA), under which the previous Administration negotiated with the “Big Three” producers (ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, and BP), no longer applies. The producers want to amend the SGDA to fit their proposed contract within the technical confines of that law. However, the Legislature's own experts have testified that the gas can no longer be deemed “stranded” due to long-term economic conditions. More>>
EDUCATION - I envision a world class educational system founded upon the principles of safety, quality, social responsibility, parental involvement and fiscal accountability.
Education is a service the state is mandated to provide. I strongly believe in providing an adequate level of funding to ensure high quality public schools. However, it will take more than money alone to pave the way toward better schools – it's also going to take commitment and collaboration with all school districts and REAA's to raise student performance and achievement. School districts must be held accountable at all times for the manner in which they expend public money. More>>
UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA - I support our University system. It's a resource. It's an economic driver. And for Alaskans, it's a cornerstone of pride.
The University of Alaska system plays a critical role in our identity as a state. Not only does the University system attract Alaska's best and brightest students, it's home to world-class faculty and the most diverse campus distribution in the country. The University of Alaska provides students the opportunity to learn in one of the most unique environments in the world.
My administration will continue to fund the University of Alaska at an appropriate level. The U of A was consistently under-funded starting in the mid-1980's. Only recently have budgets reflected the cost of operating the University system plus inflation.
My administration will take advantage of the opportunities presented by having a world-class University system:
Research - Research is a huge part of how a University can help pay its own way. The University of Alaska is currently leveraging federal dollars for research to the tune of $1 in state funds for every $7 in federal funds. The $130 million received annually in research dollars is an investment in our students and our U of A system.
Workforce Development - The time is now to prepare the workforce for the gasline economy. Job Training Initiatives will be put in place for the jobs needed to build and operate a gas pipeline
Healthcare - My administration will expand the nursing program and WWAMI slots to allow for more healthcare providers.
Affordability – We have no needs-based aid for Alaska students. Governor Murkowski tried to put 20 million in the budget for aid, but the Legislature rejected it. Lets make our own University available to students who might otherwise go without higher education.
– Currently we have a $400 million backlog in deferred maintenance. I commit to working with the University to ensure that our facilities are safe and well maintained.
PERMANENT FUND - I oppose tapping the Permanent Fund without a vote of the people and will stand up against those who would use it to pay for expanding government. The Fund is the investment we leave to future generations. The dividend is an important part of our economy and for some families this income is critical to their survival.
COMMERCIAL FISHING - Our family is a fishing family and I'm proud of our years as Bristol Bay fishermen. In standing up for the interests of Alaska's fishermen and fishing communities I oppose actions that cut off Alaskans from our fisheries. I support successful marketing of our fantastic wild seafood and oppose fish farming near waters that affect Alaska. I will fairly appoint balanced fish and game boards and then let them do their job. I will not politicize board appointments as past administrations have done. I will appoint a strong lead person in the Governor's office on fisheries and Ocean policy who will focus on these important issues and provide a clear contact point for the many commercial and person use fisheries groups in the state.
SUBSISTENCE AND PERSONAL USE OF FISH & GAME RESOURCES - I am pro-subsistence for all Alaskan's.
I have always strongly supported the personal use of fish and game by Alaskans. I grew up hunting and fishing in Alaska, and I am proud to raise my children with this same uniquely Alaskan heritage. From a statewide perspective, personal use of fish and game is an integral part of our Alaskan culture and feeds our spirit as well as our families, whether we are fishing for personal use on the Kenai, hunting for moose on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, or fishing for kings at Scandinavian Beach in Dillingham.
The personal use of fish and game, or subsistence, has been a very divisive issue over the past three decades. Tony Knowles failed to resolve the subsistence impasse despite having called five special sessions of the Alaska Legislature during his two terms as Governor. Mr. Knowles promises now that his sixth attempt at the Legislature will be the charm, but I don't buy it.
Let's remember, our Constitution already embodies language in Article 8, section 4, which gives us the flexibility to write public law and regulations to define the terms among beneficial uses that will work in times of shortage. I intend to do just that. I don't believe another effort to push for a Constitutional amendment at this time will unify Alaskans. I will not make a campaign promise for my own personal political gain that I do not believe can be kept.
Like most Alaskans, I believe that in times of shortage, Alaskans who need the resource most to feed themselves and their families should be able to harvest that resource first. I believe we can work together and find a common sense solution to the issues surrounding the use of our fish and game resources. We must be vigilant to manage our resources for abundance so there are no shortages. Alaskans have to unify on this issue, finally.
I will exercise the flexibility given to us under our Constitution and bring together a fairly represented and politically balanced group of stakeholders and organizations. Anti-hunting groups who oppose hunting and fishing rights will be the winners if we allow them to pit us against ourselves.
As an Alaskan with strong beliefs on this issue, I am confident in my ability to build consensus among diverse user groups and reconcile the many competing interests in a manner infinitely more effective than Tony Knowles, and as Governor, I pledge to work towards this goal.
SMALL BUSINESS - Alaska's small business owners are the backbone of our regional economies. Small Alaskan-owned businesses should have just as much say in state policy as the big companies do. Our precious businesses are major employers of Alaskans and keep Alaska's money circulating through our economy. As Mayor and CEO of the booming city of Wasilla, my team invited investment and encouraged business growth by eliminating small business inventory taxes, eliminated personal property taxes, reduced real property tax mill levies every year I was in office, reduced fees, and built the infrastructure our businesses needed to grow and prosper.
- An efficient and functional transportation system is absolutely vital to our economy. Throughout history, strong transportation systems have been the cornerstone of economic growth and success throughout the world. It is equally important in Alaska, where so much of our state is remote and still not connected by roads. Transportation infrastructure is a basic necessity that Alaska must have to succeed and prosper. Improvement and expansion to our aging network of public facilities, roads, harbors, airports, and rail is required for any development, and gas line construction success. A highly functional, well-maintained, statewide transportation network of public facilities, roads, ferries, trains, and airports is required, to improve Alaska's economy and the quality of life for ALL Alaskans. More>>
TOURISM - I recognize the importance of Alaska's tourism industry and want to see more independent travelers “find” our great state. I support developing tourism infrastructure in rural communities that are inviting this economic development, and I will l work tirelessly to promote Alaska in a positive, responsible and respectful manner.
OPEN PIT MINING - As part of a Bristol Bay fishing family myself, I would not support any resource development that would endanger the most sensitive and productive fishery in the world.
The State of Alaska has stringent laws and regulations already in place to prevent environmental problems. As Governor, I will empower our state regulators, oversight officers, and scientists to do their jobs in all areas of resource development. I promise all Alaskans my administration will enforce the laws to the letter and ensure protection of our fishing and environmental resources so they will not be compromised or endangered by development.
The Pebble Mine is a lightening rod for any discussion of open pit mining. The Pebble management firm, Northern Dynasty Mines, Inc., has not yet submitted a plan for public review and comment so the specific impacts are unknown. From completion of exploration to development could take 10 years or better because of permitting issues, public hearings and lawsuits. Northern Dynasty has a legal right to complete its studies and submit applications before the state judges the costs and benefits of the project.
TIMBER AND MINING - These industries have played a key role in Alaska's history and can continue to play a major role in our future. Demanding safe and responsible operations gives us the ability to address local and national concerns about these industries so they can continue to provide needed jobs for Alaskans.
ALASKA'S SENIORS - I support funding our Seniors Longevity Bonus Program so the program can phase out on schedule, in agreement with public discussion years ago. The program was declining and it was a shame to see our esteemed pioneers face broken promises when they were prematurely lopped off the program. I also support home and community based assistance programs, which are more cost effective than institutional alternatives and also allow seniors to stay in their homes and communities with dignity. Senior citizens will be respected in my administration and will receive our full respect and support. They are my delight and I will not let them down.
ALASKA'S MILITARY - Thank you military personnel! I support you. I respect our military personnel and understand the importance of Alaska's National Guard. As I watched our military men and women being deployed I recognized how important it is for their families to know how much Alaska and America support them. I believe in “promoting from within” to provide continued good leadership that truly understands Alaska and will partner with our elected leaders to support our troops.
HEALTH CARE - Obviously, high medical costs are hurting Alaskans and our Medicaid budget has quadrupled in the past 10 years. Solutions to this problem are complex, and no one person has all the answers. I look forward to working with affected parties to find the necessary solutions that will lead to more affordable health care for Alaskans. I support flexibility in government regulations that allow competition in health care that is needed, and is proven to be good for the consumer, which will drive down health care costs and reduce the need for government subsidies. I also support patients in their rightful demands to have access to full medical billing information.
WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT - I will leverage job-training dollars through efficiencies in government, private sector partnerships, and responsible investments in job training opportunities that result in good jobs for Alaskans. I look forward to working with a cross section of citizen advisors who represent private sector employers' educational institutions, union and non-union training programs and other workforce development professionals on the Alaska Workforce Investment Board. With their advice, we can meet the rapidly growing need for trained workers. I am a strong proponent of vocational and technical curriculum in our schools and will focus on this area to get our workforce ready for the future. I don't want to see an importation of Alaska's workforce when we have untapped talent here in the state, anxious for training and anxious for the opportunity to work.
GUN RIGHTS - I am a lifetime member of the NRA, I support our Constitutional right to bear arms and am a proponent of gun safety programs for Alaska's youth.
PUBLIC SAFETY - I support adequate funding for a strong public safety presence in Alaska. Feeling safe in our communities is something we cannot accept any compromise on. This includes policing in all its forms, the court system, prosecutors and corrections. If the legislature passed a death penalty law, I would sign it. We have a right to know that someone who rapes and murders a child or kills an innocent person in a drive by shooting will never be able to do that again.
SOCIAL ISSUES - I am pro-life and I believe that marriage should only be between and man and a woman. I am opposed to any expansion of gambling in Alaska.
ENVIRONMENT AND COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT - I believe in protecting Alaska's environment through fair enforcement of our environmental laws. Having a clean record on environmental regulation is critical to getting ANWR open and maintaining our fisheries mining, timber, and tourism industries. I would also revisit the change in regulations on the Alaska Coastal Zone Management program in which the past administration by eliminating the rights of local districts to write specific local enforceable policies on important issues like subsistence.
FISH AND GAME ENFORCEMENT -
The previous administration's merging of the Fish and Wildlife Troopers into the State Troopers was and remains a big mistake. Fish and wildlife enforcement will never win out over public safety and the state has seen a significant decline in fish and wildlife protection and successful wildlife crime prosecution. Currently, the Department of Public Safety isn't even recruiting candidates with backgrounds or educations in wildlife biology or resource management. As a lifelong Alaskan who grew up hunting and fishing, I recognize the importance of proper wildlife management to ensure that our fish and wildlife thrive. I will reinstate the Division of Fish and Wildlife Protection to ensure effective fish and game enforcement.