ASUAF hosts fourth candidate forum
Alisha Drumm/Sun Star Reporter
October 23, 2012
The fourth candidate forum of the semester highlighted six candidates that will be running for the Alaska House of Representatives and senate. The candidates gave their stance and opinions on several issues facing Alaska and UAF directly, on Tuesday, Oct. 16 in the Schaible Auditorium.
The candidates present were Doug Isaacson, Janice Golub, Steve Thompson, David Guttenberg, Dorothy Chockley and Alan Dick. Isaacson is a 2012 Republican Candidate for District 1. Golub is a 2012 Democratic candidate for House District 1. Thompson is a Republican candidate for state house district 3, and is currently in position as state house district 10. Guttenberg is running for reelection for the House of Representatives, under district 38. Shockley is a lifelong Alaskan resident who is a 2012 Independent candidate for district 38 House of Representatives. Dick could was not present at the ASUAF forum due to unprecedented circumstances, however, participated in the forum over the phone. Dick is a Republican candidate for district 38 House of Representatives.
After the candidates introduced themselves to the small audience of about ten people, they were asked questions regarding energy costs and efficiency in Alaska, oil production and education plans at UAF.
Heating costs is always an issue for Alaskan residents with the extreme temperatures faced in the winter months. The candidates were asked what they would do to reduce heating costs for the residents of interior Alaska, and how they would see the plan through. The responses were varied.
Shockley stated that she would “match the price of heating costs with Anchorage” as one option. Dick put an emphasis on the use of coal, as well as wood and corn pellets as a solution for heating costs. “We need to figure out how we can use coal and wood efficiently” said Dick. Guttenberg stated that there is a short term solution, and a long term solution. Guttenberg emphasized the short term solution of giving every adult 250 gallons of oil.
Gollub, Thompson, and Isaacson all introduced the idea of using natural gas as the best solution.
The UAF Atkison heating plant is at risk of failure, which would be extremely detrimental to the UAF community. The candidates were asked if they would support the replacement to the plant that would cost $200 million. Most candidates answered that it should be supported, but there should also be research done on other options.
There has been a significant decrease in oil production in Alaska in recent years. With this issue, Alaska’s government must plan options for the future. The candidates were asked what their solution would be to decreased oil revenue.
The candidates responses were cut down the middle for this question with Golub, Isaacson and Dick remaining optimistic about oil production in Alaska, stating that we are still “rich in recourses.” Guttenberg, Shockley and Thompson discussed the ideas of changing the way Alaskans do business and cutting the state budget.
In 2012 House Bill 272 was introduced that would reduce the interest rates for student loans for UAF graduates who stay in Alaska to use their degree. The candidates were asked whether or not they would support a similar bill. Each candidate agreed that a bill like this would be extremely beneficial and they would support a bill such as this.
The cost of tuition for post-secondary education continues to rise. The candidates were asked if the state should continue to help cover the cost of tuition. The candidates all agreed that the state should help to cover the cost of tuition as long as UAF students plan to use their degree to benefit Alaska.
The final question regarded the newly founded Alaska Performance Scholarship. The candidates were asked whether they thought merit based scholarships or needs based scholarships are most valuable in helping students attend college. The candidates agreed that merit based scholarships should be rewarded more highly, however needs based scholarships are necessary to have as well.
Daniel Kuposzewski, a UAF graduate and economist in the state of Alaska was one of the few audience members at this forum. “I thought the forum went very well, but I was disappointed in the turn out. I think there was a lack of advertising, which was disappointing,” Kupiszewski said.
After the forum, candidates and audience members gathered outside the Schaible to mingle and enjoy free pizza which was an enjoyable end to an informative ASUAF House of Representative forum.