Homer Alaska - Opinion

Story last updated at 5:04 PM on Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Republican challenger asks: Are you better off than you were?

Race for District 30 House seat: Candidates explain their positions

By Jon Faulkner


Jon Faulkner

The questions for District 30 voters are these: Are you better off today than when my opponent took office? What part of our economy has improved in 10 years? Are the fisheries healthier; are disputes any closer to resolution? Is the visitor industry growing? Has the reach and cost of government been checked?

Most agree that little has improved and that we need new leadership. We need a representative who can work effectively with the Legislature, the governor, and the private sector. In contrast, Mr. Seaton's highest capital priority was vetoed twice by the governor. He doesn't share the governor's philosophy on oil taxation, faith issues or national health exchanges, so how effective will he be with the governor? The private sector consistently rates Mr. Seaton's performance as "failing," and his 10-year record of new job-creation is unimpressive. His teamwork with fellow Republicans is strained by his political positions (e.g. almost every Republican opposes Prop. 2) and is reflected in the few leadership positions he's attained.

I will work more effectively with these bodies to accomplish important work for this district — creating jobs and economic opportunity. Our unemployment rate is over 9 percent, consistently ranked among Alaska's highest and 2 percent above average. There is no excuse for this and reason alone to vote for change. We need a representative who has the experience and dedication to do something about unemployment.

Unlike my opponent, I have a credible plan to address job growth. I will stimulate private sector investment in health plans by merging workers compensation with full-time health coverage. I will work with agencies to reform laws which discourage hiring and instead promote dependency on government assistance. I propose to restructure statewide tourism promotion to target localized attractions. I will stimulate private sector investment in marine transportation infrastructure; recruit Anchorage-based businesses to re-locate here; boost year-round local hire schedules within the oil and gas sector and accelerate their spending plans. For capital projects, youth sports facilities deserve greater attention as they attract peninsula-wide economic benefits, promote travel, and build healthy, active communities.

My opponent and I have different positions on issues important to people of faith. The preamble to Alaska's Constitution contains the word "God." Does Mr. Seaton's record suggest he will defend this legacy of Faith? The next legislature may take up the issue of parental notification for teen abortions, which my opponent opposes, and use of taxpayer funds for abortions, which he supports. Who best represents your values regarding parental rights, fiscal conservatism, and respect for all human life?

In our first debate, Paul publicly stated that I supported the Catch Sharing Plan. When he learned that I collected petitions against the CSP and that I was nominated by the Alaska Charter Association to serve on the Catch Panel designed to forestall the CSP, he changed his tune. During the Soldotna debate, he stated that there was no record of my testimony opposing the CSP anywhere in the record. In truth, my testimony has been posted for everyone to see — on a NOAA-NMFS sponsored website (www.regulations.gov , ID# NOAA-NMSF-2011-0180-1342).

At this same debate, Paul accused me of switching my position on oil taxation "180-degrees." In truth, my position has been posted on my website from DAY-1, and has never changed. Mr. Seaton, on the other hand, has flip-flopped. He introduced HB328 in 2012 to increase oil taxes and only recently started calling for a tax decrease. What do these things tell you about the incumbent? Who is the career politician with no new ideas and a tendency to confuse you — and who represents a fresh voice for change?