Alaska Gubernatorial Election 2022
“This governor has spent almost all of our savings leaving many in poverty. Alaska has run out of money because Dunleavy refuses to demand a fair share of Alaska’s oil,” declares the state’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Les Gara, in an interview with Sol de Medianoche.
“Alaskans own our oil and should get a fair share for it,” Gara adds. “Ending corporate welfare for oil companies would raise approximately $1 billion in revenue. The governor’s promises on the PFD have been empty. His refusal to end corporate welfare for oil companies has deprived Alaska of the revenue we need to fund schools, a PFD, construction jobs and other things that would create a better life for people.”
- What are the most pressing needs in Alaska?
The people of this state have many needs and a right to opportunity and dignity.
Ending this pandemic is certainly a priority in order to save lives and get people back to good paying jobs. Getting people back to good jobs and good pay, rather than keeping this state in an economic recession, is a priority. Thousands of people have left Alaska because they see too few job opportunities.
Build renewable and other energy projects to put people to work and reduce the cost of energy. Reduce property taxes by not forcing cities to pay state debt obligations. Ensure that opportunities are created for all people, regardless of color or background, and raise the minimum wage to a living wage, so that people are paid fairly for hard work. End Alaska’s oil tax, which keeps Alaska in poverty and sends unwarranted corporate subsidies to the world’s largest companies. These are a few priorities among many others.
- Are you in favor of exploiting natural resources such as oil and gas, even though this can damage the environment and part of one of the best biosphere reserves on the planet?
Oil, gas, and mining produce jobs, and I support those jobs as long as the development is done responsibly. We have many responsibly operated development projects. I disagree with Dunleavy on the massive, toxic Pebble mine. He is wrong to side with foreign mine executives and against Alaskans who want to protect the world’s largest salmon stocks.
- The coronavirus pandemic has been especially violent in recent weeks in Alaska. What should Governor Mike Dunleavy do to solve this serious problem?
My wife is a hospital worker, and it hurts her every day to see so many people who have COVID, who are very sick and could die from it, because our hospitals are now overwhelmed. The governor should listen to the hospitals and medical experts at a time when people are dying in large and unjustifiable numbers.
Experts say we should encourage and educate Alaskans to wear a good mask in crowded places. For those who cannot afford them, we should use federal COVID money. If it is safe to vaccinate, it should be done, and not doing so sends people to crowded hospitals and, all too often, to their deaths.
- Do you think Dunleavy and Mayor Bronson are obligated to wear masks and force officials to wear them in official buildings, as recommended by CDC authorities?
They should tell people that good disposable surgical masks work in crowded places. They prevent the spread of this deadly disease. We should make sure they are available to people who can’t afford them.
- Would you require teachers and students to wear masks in schools?
Face-to-face schooling is important for students, and important for parents who have to go to work. Students learn better in the classroom than on a computer, and many families don’t have the necessary computers or Internet coverage they can afford. Also, parents can’t stay home from work when schools are closed. I would let the School Boards make the decisions as they are doing now. COVID and its severity are different in different communities, so the answer should be left to the local communities.
- Give three reasons why Alaskans should elect you for governor.
I would work to end our economic recession, which has wiped out thousands of Alaskan jobs. Part of the solution to ending this recession is to make sure we close oil company tax loopholes, which cause the loss of needed oil revenues. Without that needed revenue, Alaska does not provide needed and fair opportunities for all, good schools, good and affordable jobs, and college training for the people who want and need it. Governor Dunleavy voted for this tax giveaway in 2013 as a legislator and I opposed it then. This giveaway has kept this state in poverty.
I am the only candidate pushing to end these subsidized tax credits and will push for a fair and living wage so that hard working people get paid a good wage.
- What do you know about the Hispanic community in Alaska? What are their main needs?
I represented Fairview in the legislature, a very ethnically diverse neighborhood. Not all people of all races need the same things, but all people deserve to be treated with respect, without discrimination, and to live in a state that offers better job and college opportunities.
- What will you do to improve conditions for equal rights for women and men?
I support equal rights for all people, and I would appoint diverse members of different ethnic backgrounds to our Human Rights Commission. That Commission is responsible for enforcing our equal rights laws. I would have an ethnically diverse Governor’s Office and senior staff members would come from diverse ethnic communities. It would want both women and men in positions of power and influence.
- Will you promote official aid to small entrepreneurs and businesses that have been affected by the Covid pandemic?
I would work to help businesses that are hurt by COVID, and there would likely be federal COVID funds for that.