Primary Primer

We read the campaign websites so you don’t have to.

Joe Miller and Lisa Murkowski (Photos courtesy of campaign websites)

By Ben Deering

Sun Star Reporter

Election season has arrived! For the students fervently following the news, this article will be of little use. However, for those who are politically myopic, perhaps this will help be a little informative for those voting today.

The Senatorial races are, as always, interesting. Flying the Republican flag are Lisa Murkowski (the incumbent) and Joe Miller, while the men under the Democrat banner are Scott McAdams, Jacob Kern, and Frank Vondersaar.

McAdams is the current mayor of Sitka, elected to the post in 2008, and is the most moderate of the three, running on fiscal responsibility, resource development, public education and individual liberty.

Kern ran for mayor of Anchorage in 2009, and plans on running for governor and president.  He is pushing an energy-focused policy involving some sort of wireless energy machine he has invented. His mayoral platform stated that, “my technology will end the payment of Anchorage residents having to pay taxes.”

Frank Vondersaar proves to be the far left candidate, running for the senatorial seat to “reverse the damage done to our country by a quarter century of corrupt, lying, hard-core fascist criminal politicians representing Alaska in Congress,” he says on his website. “I will provide strong, ethical and anti-fascist leadership for Alaska’s future.”

Switching focus to the Republican candidates, Murkowski is once again running for her senate seat, banking on her incumbency and a thoroughly unsurprising Republican platform: a strong focus on the military, fishing, veterans and Second Amendment rights.

Miller, on the other hand, strikes a “back to roots” Republican platform, being strongly pro-life and “anti-‘ObamaCare.’” According to his website, he supports a return to Constitutional spending limits. Miller has set himself up as a candidate opposed to Murkowski, rather than for anything; it’s telling when his website maintains “Joe vs. Lisa” as a spotlight. Sarah Palin and the Tea Party Express political group have endorsed Joe Miller.

The gubernatorial primaries are also today, with Ralph Samuels, Sean Parnell, and Bill Walker vying for the Republican nomination. Ethan Berkowitz and Hollis French compete for the Democratic nomination.

Parnell is running as incumbent governor, standing on a small business, safe home, pro-merit education and pro-life platform. Walker’s platform is heavy on small government, Second Amendment and pro-fossil fuel issues, in particular the construction of an Alaskan gasline. Samuels is pro-energy, pro-life, pro-family and pro-safe homes.

French is running on a strong education platform, along with equal rights and safe communities. Berkowitz runs mostly on a strong resource and energy platform, pushing Alaskans to use our resources to lower energy prices.

The race for the House seat is, unfortunately, not as exciting. Three men are running under the Republican banner: Don Young (the incumbent), Sheldon Fisher and John R. Cox.  A single man runs under the Democrat ticket, Harry T. Crawford Jr.

Young’s platform should sound familiar: pro-education, pro-development, pro-veteran, and for a twist, border security. He also stands behind a telecommunications platform, saying on his website that “Alaskans [should] continue to have access to affordable, high-speed broadband.”

Fisher has a recognizable platform, pro-education, pro-balanced budget, pro-sanctity of marriage, pro-life.

Cox maintains an ambiguous platform. His personal website seems not too different from Vondersaar’s, with an obvious tilt more to the right. “We need to push for public safety, vocational education, infrastructure, energy programs and repeal old laws,” he writes.  “We can get it done! There is money for these programs and still lower taxes.  I also believe that small business should not have to pay taxes!” Cox, like Kern and Vondersaar, maintains no “Issues” page.

Crawford,the sole Democrat, has a slightly different platform from the above: pro-ethics and honesty, pro-education, pro-public safety, and forcing a timetable for military actions.

As interesting as the candidates are, two major ballot measures are up to bat. The first is an initiative to ban the use of public funds for lobbying or campaigning, and banning government contractors and family members from offering up cash for politics. If this law went into effect, grandmothers and cousins of government employees would be prohibited from making political donations.

The second ballot measure will require that parents or guardians be notified if a minor in their care asks for an abortion. Additional stipulations are in for judicial bypass, any form of abuse from the parent, or if it will provide immediate danger to the minor’s life. Just to help clarify, the current law in the books allows a minor to get an abortion without any notification; the ballot measure wishes to change that, mandating fines and jail time for physicians who perform abortions without notification.

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