Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 3:30 PM on Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Incumbent: Paul Seaton

Profiles of Candidates for house District 30

By Michael Armstrong
Staff Writer


Paul Seaton

Going into his sixth race to represent Homer and the lower Kenai Peninsula in the House, Rep. Paul Seaton, R-Homer, said he still likes the work.

"I'm still enjoying the job and learning a lot about each one of the various issues," Seaton said.

He's running again — this time against a well-funded opponent, Homer businessman Jon Faulkner — because Seaton thinks he brings a good perspective to the House.


Residence: Homer

Age: 66

Born: Oxnard, Calif.

Spouse: Tina Seaton

Children: Tawny, 33, Rand, 29

Occupation: Fish tender vessel owner, apartment rentals

In Alaska: 37 years

Alaska communities lived in: Fairbanks 1968-1970, Seward 1975-1981, Anchor Point 1981-1993, Homer (Kachemak City) 1993-present

Education: Associate of arts from Ventura Community College, Ventura, Calif.; bachelor of science, University of Alaska Fairbanks; masters of arts in teaching, UAF; masters of science in marine zoology, San Diego State College, Calif.; Seward Skill Center (AVTEC) in diesel mechanics

Political and government positions: West Coast Advisory Panel member, National Research Council; State House Representative from District 35; Higher Education/Career Readiness Task Force; Education Funding District Cost Factor Commission Chair

Business and Professional Positions: Board member, Homer Little League; Adviser, KELPS Fund of the Homer Foundation; founding board member, Alaska Marine Conservation Council; former Community Council member, Kachemak Bay Research Reserve; Kachemak Bay Rotary member

Special interests: Hunting, fishing and talking politics

To contact:Email: Paul@VotePaulSeaton.comWebsite: www.votepaulseaton.com

"There are few legislators that dig deeply into the analysis underlying complex bills, and to avoid unintended consequences, you need some people willing to do that," he said.

For example, on House Bill 110, a change in the oil and gas structure, in 2011 Seaton was one of two legislators to vote against a bill favored by Gov. Sean Parnell. Seaton said his analysis showed Parnell hadn't looked at the bill's effect on new oil fields and a further loss in state income.

That vote cost Seaton a higher ranking from the National Federation of Independent Business, a low ranking that Faulkner has criticized. Seaton said he got the NFIB endorsement in 2010. His vote on the oil tax bill cost him NFIB support, he admitted.

"I went to the bottom of the list, but the problem is the oil tax bills would have devastated the economy," Seaton said.

He also got a low ranking because he opposed an NFIB-backed change in the cruise ship head tax that would have benefited Juneau and other Southeast ports over Homer and Seward.

With his children grown and on their own, Seaton and his wife Tina don't find serving in Juneau disruptive to family schedules.

Looking back at his career, Seaton said he's proud of accomplishments like a bill moving the state toward a prevention of disease model in health care. Seaton is a big advocate of the health benefits of vitamin D supplements for people living in northern climates.

He also cited a change in fisheries laws that allows setnet operators to drive fish to canneries without staying at setnet sites at the same time. He also helped pass a bill that allows fisheries to combine catches on transporters. A commercial fisherman, Seaton has cut his tender fleet back from four ships to one.

"I guess the other thing I'm happy about is the gas line," Seaton said. "I think that's going to be for the southern Kenai Peninsula the biggest economic boom that we've had in the last 30 years."

Seaton worked through three sessions trying to get a legislative grant passed to build a natural gas pipeline from Anchor Point to Homer. After Parnell vetoed or partially vetoed two grants, the governor let stand this year an $8 million grant. Faulkner also supports the gas line, but said Enstar Natural Gas should have paid to build it.

"After 30 years of waiting and not being economic, it's time to get off the dime and protect the citizens with the economy," Seaton said.

Faulkner has cited his business success as one of his main qualifications for office. Seaton said running a business is different from serving in the Legislature.

"Business decisions are just made differently," Seaton said. "It's not trying to get 21 people to agree and work through the compromises you need to get the best product in the law."

"But I don't mean to be negative," Seaton also said about Faulkner. "It's always good that voters have a choice. That's a voter's decision to get to make."

Along with lower energy costs and preventative health care, Seaton said his issues are fiscal responsibility, education and responsible resource development.

An issue he's hearing from voters is roads. Seaton said he's glad to see projects proceeding like chip sealing East Skyline Drive, a process where gravel is mixed with asphalt to keep dust down and roads smooth without rolling asphalt.

He's also hearing voters talk about health care.

"People are concerned about health care and wondering what's happening in the state," Seaton said. "That will be an issue and we'll see how it develops."

Redistricting didn't influence Seaton's decision to run for re-election, but it has changed his campaign strategy. When Seward was in the district, Seaton could plan meetings on the east side and stay overnight there.

"I'm driving a lot more," he said. "When it's Ninilchik, Coho, Funny River, you're not that far away. You put a lot more time on the road."