The candidAtes' Voice
candidates for the house of representatives
A General Election has been called for November 8 this year. In addition to the president, we are electing 34 senators and 435 federal representatives. In Alaska, 10 state senate seats are up for election and 40 in the House of Representatives. With this in mind, Sol de Medianoche sent federal congressional candidates four questions about what we thought were essential topics: immigration, the economy and energy, health, and education. We received replies from state senate candidates Ray Metcalfe (Democrat), Lisa Murkowski (Republican) and Margaret Stock (independent), and from congressional candidates Don Young (Republican) and Steve Lindbeck (Democrat).
ENERGY / ECONOMY
IMMIGRATION: According to the PEW Foundation, 29,000 Latinos in Alaska can vote: 5.4% of the state’s population. We all know our current immigration system is broken; what would you do in Congress to fix it? Do you believe that immigrants contribute to the US economy? In which ways?
STEVE LINDBECK: I’m the grandson of four Swedish immigrants who came to this country looking to build a better life for themselves and their families—and I hold a deep appreciation for what immigrants bring to our country, economically and culturally. For example, studies found there were 3,364 new immigrant business owners in Alaska from 2006 to 2010. The creative, entrepreneurial spirit that immigrants bring to our state is just one of the many contributions they make to Alaska and our economy.
It’s also clear that our current immigration system is in dire need of reform. I support immigration reform that secures our borders, brings workers out of the shadows and keeps families together, and that includes a path to citizenship for law-abiding immigrants. A comprehensive solution to immigration that focuses on these three pillars will make us safer, strengthen our communities, and help grow our economy.
DON YOUNG: I have witnessed and continue to witness firsthand the incredible value immigrants provide to our country, our culture, our economy and our way of life. This country is a nation of immigrants and many of our ancestors once came here to provide more opportunities for their children or to escape persecution and danger—and the United States should continue to offer these opportunities in the future. However, our current immigration system is in serious need of repair. I have worked and continue to work with my colleagues in the House on immigration reform that ensures our nation’s broken immigration policies are addressed in a manner that enforces current laws, recognizes the role the legal immigration process has in our society, and reflects the needs of our economy and national security.
ENERGY / ECONOMY: The price of oil may never return to the levels of the early 2000s, and we know Alaska’s economy is mainly based in the oil industry. What role can the federal government play in shaping Alaska’s economy and in helping it recover?
STEVE LINDBECK: Oil and gas will continue to be an important part of Alaska’s economy for a long time to come, but our state can and must build new industries so that future generations of Alaskans can find jobs here and raise their families here. In Congress, I will work to pass a new infrastructure bill that upgrades Alaska’s roads, bridges, ports and airports to help build a 21st century economy for our state. We must also attract new businesses, improve our broadband infrastructure and create the basis for a creative, entrepreneurial economy. I’ll fight for tax credits so local businesses can return to serving our communities and providing good jobs. I’ll expand microloan programs and support small business credit access to get more capital into the hands of Alaska’s entrepreneurs, and I’ll work to support opportunities in Alaska’s rural communities.
DON YOUNG: As Alaska’s lone voice in the United States House of Representatives, I have always worked to build a stronger, more vibrant Alaska. I’m working—as a senior member of two powerful House Committees and the Chairman of the Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs Subcommittee—to grow Alaska’s economy, protect local communities and encourage new opportunities for all our residents. Ultimately, Alaska’s already sensitive economy needs relief from burdensome rules and regulations that limit innovation, shut down job creation and stifle economic growth and entrepreneurship in our state. Alaskans from all walks of life want a level playing eld for their businesses and new opportunities for their families. I’m working to achieve that.
HEALTH: The Federal DHHS has identified six areas in which racial and ethnic minorities, including Hispanics, experience disparate access to or need for health care: infant mortality; cancer screening and management; cardiovascular disease; diabetes; HIV/AIDS; and immunizations. What would you do in the Senate to increase minority access to health care?
STEVE LINDBECK: Minorities, including Latinos and Alaska Native people, face high barriers to getting quality, affordable healthcare. In Congress, I will work to expand health services in underserved communities and to reduce language barriers in healthcare. We must improve opportunities and access for minorities that want to be doctors, nurses, and healthcare workers, so that more trained professionals can work in their own communities. And I’ll work to promote community education and outreach efforts to broaden awareness and understanding of healthcare practices and needs.
DON YOUNG: Healthcare in this nation continues to be an important issue, particularly as we look at the disparities between different populations and states. Throughout my time in Congress, I have worked on numerous bills and amendments to help stabilize essential health services and programs in both urban and rural areas of Alaska. These many efforts, which signi cantly impact our state’s diverse populations, include measures to expand existing health facilities, protect behavioral and mental health treatment centers, ensure access for seniors and members of our veteran community, and safeguard hospitals serving some of the most rural and remote regions of our state. In addition, I continue to support funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which includes critical dollars for the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities for scientific research to improve minority health and reduce health disparities.
EDUCATION: What would you do in Congress to help Alaska implement education reforms and be eligible for competitive federal grants?
STEVE LINDBECK: A child’s path to opportunity begins with education. And education that meets the needs of every student and school district starts on the local level. The diversity of our communities means that every school has different needs, and I will work to make sure that federal grant guidelines take into account Alaska’s unique challenges. Grants that help our schools thrive must have exibility so that Alaska can access funds without being excluded by guidelines that ignore our population and geography.
Furthermore, our state and our communities should be responsible for our education system and direction. The federal government can give broad guidelines and support, and should provide resources for innovation and development, but it must respect the specific needs of Alaska’s communities and schools.
DON YOUNG: As a former teacher, I am committed to ensuring that our nation’s children are provided with the best possible education. I strongly believe that all children have a right to study in safe and productive learning environments and that America has a responsibility to provide exemplary education across the board. We must make significant investments in education to equip current and future generations of children with the knowledge and skills they need to compete and succeed in the global economy. Parents should be able to send their children to public schools confident that they will receive an excellent learning experience. For these many reasons, I recently championed efforts in Congress to reauthorize and reform our nation’s education policies, which allowed for the development of learning systems that are individually tailored to meet the needs of communities. As education stakeholders in Alaska work to implement these changes, I will support their efforts at the federal level and ensure that the Department of Education serves as a partner that respects state and local authority.