Homer Alaska - Opinion

Story last updated at 4:46 PM on Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Challenger says he's conservative, commits to serving only two terms

Race for Senate District O: GOP candidates explain differences

By Peter Micciche
Point of View


 

Peter Micciche

On Aug. 28, Peninsula residents will determine who represents their voices to Juneau, a choice that will determine the direction of the Alaska Senate. One candidate is a three-term incumbent; the other is a highly qualified, proven conservative Republican committed to serving only two terms.

The differences are clear. My opponent has handed over the power of our conservative district to the Democrat-controlled Senate working group led by liberals Hollis French and Bill Wielechowski.

I will not serve in a Democrat-led coalition. I believe the entire Senate should work across the aisle for Alaskans' best interests.

My service as mayor of Soldotna demonstrates a proven, conservative record. Our team reduced the cost of running Soldotna by 1.8 percent over the last four years. We cut taxes twice and currently have a lower mill rate than the surrounding borough. While my opponent has been in office, the state budget has nearly tripled and bi-partisan coalition spending continues to increase irresponsibly.

As your senator, my priorities include an in-state natural gas pipeline from the North Slope to the Cook Inlet grid — a project the legislature has "discussed" for over 30 years. I support natural gas to Homer, Funny River and Kasilof, and investment in gas transmission infrastructure to bring hundreds of high-paying jobs back home to the Peninsula and help Alaskans with lower heating costs and a sustainable energy source.

My opponent supported AGIA, which potentially gives $500 million to Exxon without guarantees.

He opposed an in-state gas pipeline and the pipeline to Homer, costing Kenai Peninsula taxpayers $2 million in lost energy savings for public buildings and thousands of dollars for homeowners who often spend more heating their homes than paying their mortgages.

Fishing is a way of life on the Peninsula. As senator, I will work to bring together the two user groups for the recovery of king salmon stocks and scalable fishing opportunities to sustain both industries key to a successful Kenai Peninsula economy. I will work to enhance king salmon returns in lower Peninsula streams from the Kasilof to Homer, to provide additional sport fishing opportunities, and to reduce the pressure on the Kenai. I also commit to encouraging solutions to conserve the natural king salmon stocks of the Kenai River.

My opponent admits he has seen fisheries issues coming to a head for years, yet in the last decade he failed to positively influence improvements separating politics from biological decisions. The results have been catastrophic. This year brought a total loss for hundreds of setnetter families and a dramatic reduction in sport fishing opportunities and revenue.

Finally, as your senator, fiscal responsibility and the long-term stability of Alaska is essential. I do not support the governor's plan to reduce production taxes, but I will work to improve Alaska's competitiveness by rewarding production increases that fund state government, without a corporate giveaway. I believe tax credits should be contingent on production increases and higher local hire levels. Such a solution would incentivize increased industry activity, without reducing the current revenue stream imperative for the sustainability of a responsible state budget.

You have a choice Aug. 28. You can send the same folks back to Juneau term after term, or you can choose a qualified, proven conservative to represent District O. I am running as a conservative Republican because I am a conservative Republican. I believe in limiting government to essential services. I am the only candidate endorsed by Right to Life, and I enjoy the highest rating possible from the NRA.

The only other endorsement I care about is yours. I would appreciate your vote on Aug. 28.

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