Education is a lifelong journey that all Alaskans must be able to access. That means fighting for pre-K programs so children have the opportunity to grow while their parents work. Studies show the best investment in our kids comes in the early years. Giving them a strong start means we create more successful students, and adults who contribute to our communities, stay out of trouble, and help build a successful Alaska. Education also means supporting apprenticeship programs and vocational training so people can develop skills and create the workforce that Alaska needs to recover from this health and economic crisis. It means supporting our University and making sure that it’s adequately funded - to attract and retain talent, to train the workforce for the next generation, and supporting critical research opportunities generated by our world-class Arctic University.
Fairbanks needs more opportunities for our youth, not fewer. Education and schools are critical to the health of our communities in ways large and small. I will continue to fight for education access for those in Fairbanks and across the state.
We must defend our Permanent Fund, and pay out the highest dividend that we can afford; Alaska's resource wealth is owned by the people, helps the bottom line in households across the state, and gives a critical boost to the local economy. It is our shared sovereign wealth and a key element of our post-Kuparuk economy.
In order to restore health and sustainability to our Permanent Fund and Dividend, the companies that extract and sell our oil must go back to paying their fair share. It’s clear now that the passage of Senate Bill 21 (the “More Production” Act) has resulted in billions of dollars of lost revenue to the state that we’ll never get back. And it has, in large part, created our current and ongoing budget crisis.
With a reformed tax structure, oil and gas companies will contribute approximately $700 million more per year to help fund state services and sustain the Permanent Fund. This is how it used to be before our current budget woes. Managed properly, the fund will allow for shared prosperity for all Alaskans, for generations to come.
*We live in a state rich in natural resources, populated by hard-working people. I reject the scarcity mindset coming from our Governor and his Republican enablers in Juneau. The wealthiest resource companies in the world shouldn’t be asking US to tighten our belts. They don’t need billions in tax breaks – we do!
In the middle of economic challenge, and a deadly pandemic, we can’t forget what’s on the horizon. Climate change is the greatest challenge we will face in our lifetimes. Alaska cannot turn a blind eye as coastal communities are relocated as their land washes into the sea, and as our salmon runs are disrupted by abnormally warm waters. Inaction carries an unacceptable economic and human cost. We must begin taking steps to protect our climate and our communities with long-term and sustainable planning.
When elected, I will hold bad actors who damage our land and water for profit accountable. We must hold those who benefit financially accountable to our Constitution which says industry must develop Alaska resources “for the maximum benefit of the people.”
And there’s lots of good news. Alaska is the Saudi Arabia of renewable resources with the combination of wind, solar, tidal, geothermal, biofuels, and new technology on the horizon to make sure our state is well-positioned to mitigate the effects of climate change and transition to a true independent 21st century economy.
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