State of Alaska Archives: on Government Reform


Cean Stevens: Individual rights over state's rights

Too many times politicians speak of "State's Rights" while railing at the over reach of larger governmental entities. "State's Rights" is not mentioned in the US or Alaska constitution. Ultimately, inalienable rights belong to the individual citizen, and no other entity. Not federal government, not state government, nor any business or corporate entity. Coercion by larger governmental entities is still coercion. Insomuch as individuals do not infringe on another's life, liberty, or property government at any level does not have the right to interfere.
Source: 2016 Alaska Senate campaign website, CeanStevens.com Mar 10, 2016

Lisa Murkowski: Scrutinize states with a history of voting discrimination

In a sign of just how much the Republican Party has shifted on the Voting Rights Act since the bipartisan landmark civil rights bill was passed 50 years ago, Lisa Murkowski signed on to a bill to restore the now-gutted legislation. The bill that Murkowski now cosponsors, the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015, would revitalize the VRA by forcing states with a history of voting discrimination to clear any proposed changes to their election laws or procedures with the federal government. Voting rights advocates and Democrats have demanded a fix since the Supreme Court invalidated a crucial section of the VRA in 2013 that mandated such federal scrutiny for jurisdictions across the country, including Alaska.

But such a fix has stalled in the Senate, as the chamber's Republican leadership has resisted any calls to restore the legislation. Murkowski's support is also surprising because she said in 2013 that she didn't sense much of a motivation to restore the VRA in Congress.

Source: Huffington Post coverage of 2016 Alaska Senate race Sep 10, 2015

Lisa Murkowski: Opportunity to vote, regardless of where people live

Murkowski now supports the Voting Rights Advancement Act, but she said in 2013 that she didn't sense much of a motivation to restore the VRA in Congress: "I'm not sensing there is this drive," she told the Alaska Public Radio Network. "Right after the Supreme Court ruled on this there was a lot of discussion, a lot of talk going around, but you didn't hear this unanimous cry that we've got to go out and address legislatively."

The bill that Murkowski has signed on to would increase the number of polling sites on tribal reservations, since Alaska Natives and Native Americans are often forced to travel long distances to vote in person. The Department of Justice came out in favor of a similar proposal earlier this year.

Murkowski explained, "The Voting Rights Act of 1965 brought an end to the ugly Jim Crow period in American history. Every American [should] be given the opportunity to vote, regardless of who they are, where they live, and what their race or national origin may be," she said.

Source: Huffington Post coverage of 2016 Alaska Senate race Sep 10, 2015

Mark Begich: Adviser to lobbying firms, but not interested in lobbying

[After leaving the Senate], Begich became president and CEO of the Foundation for Hospice and Homecare. And last month, he signed as a strategic policy adviser to a law and lobbying firm, working mainly on energy and natural resource issues.

While Republicans privately scoffed at Begich for joining a lobby giant, Begich said he's not registering as a lobbyist. Big firms, he said, were courting him after his election loss with lucrative offers. "I don't want to lobby, & I'm not interested in that."

Source: Politico.com coverage of 2016 Alaska Senate race May 6, 2015

Dan Sullivan: TV ads financed by super-PAC, both for him & against

The candidates clashed over the economic stimulus, gun rights and campaign spending. Sullivan has raised almost four times as much money as Treadwell and has a super PAC backing him, enabling him to bombard the airwaves with advertising. Begich and his super PAC have also jumped into the fight, attacking Sullivan over his roughly seven-year absence from the state, when he was in Washington, D.C., working in the administration of President George W. Bush and serving with the military overseas.
Source: Associated Press on 2014 Alaska Senate race Aug 11, 2014

Joe Miller: Photo ID for voting

Question topic: People should be able to vote without photo identification.

Miller: Strongly Disagree

Source: Faith2Action iVoterGuide on 2014 Alaska Senate race Jul 2, 2014

Joe Miller: Stop federal systematic spiritual and religious apartheid

Q: Last year, you said, "The President and his allies are engaged in a form of systematic spiritual and religious apartheid." How so?

A: We've seen a president with a complete disrespect for religious institutions to decide whether or not they want to provide certain things under their health plan that they pay for. if you have a religious organization, they certainly have the right not do things that they believe violate their doctrine and their conscience.

Q: What is the apartheid comparison? Is there one group that you think is being privileged over another group?

A: Well, we're talking about religious groups and irreligious groups.

Q: So are you suggesting that irreligious groups have more rights than religious groups?

A: Well, a religious group has a free exercise right to practice their religion--a right to be free of government interference and government mandates that require them to act in a way that violates their fundamental worldview.

Source: Salon.com CPAC interview on 2014 Alaska Senate race Mar 10, 2014

Mark Begich: Active trader on the stock market, despite proposed ban

Earlier this year, the Center for Responsive Politics reported that for the first time, most members of Congress were millionaires, with 268 of the 534 members enjoying that status. They also reported that for 2012, Begich had assets worth between $1.7 million and $4.2 million. The center calculated Begich's average net worth at $1.4 million in 2012, ranking him 58th in the Senate.

Begich, who owns commercial properties in Alaska and Nevada, has been called an active trader on the stock market. He's still buying and selling individual stocks--according to his personal disclosure forms--a practice also carried out by other Congressmen, but one that some lawmakers have tried to stamp out.

In January, for example, Begich reported selling between $1,000 and $15,000 worth of securities in Keryx Biopharmaceuticals, a company whose stock price has more than doubled in the past year. His disclosure reports list 45 transactions in 2012 for buying and selling stocks.

Source: Alaska Dispatch on 2014 Alaska Senate race Feb 25, 2014

Lisa Murkowski: Sometimes building infrastructure takes earmarks

Miller said Alaska must wean itself off federal dollars because money is rapidly drying up. Miller said, "The deficit has reached a point where we're on the verge of hitting the same catastrophe that Greece had."

Alaska's delegation for decades has worked to ease regulatory burdens imposed by the federal government, encourage it to convey land promised to the state and Alaska Natives, while at the same time seeking federal money for infrastructure that other states enjoy and that could advance resource development, Murkowski said. She called Miller's plans simplistic, saying "that's why it's more than just a little bit frustrating to keep hearing him repeat it over and over again, as if it's something that we haven't been doing."

"Sometimes building that infrastructure takes earmarks," she said. "Joe has not made that connection yet." She said she was not sure how Miller could force areas to be opened for resource extraction, given that the federal government owns 2/3 of Alaska.

Source: Anchorage Daily News coverage of 2010 Alaska Senate debate Oct 26, 2010

Joe Miller: Federal aid to Alaska is coming to an end

Murkowski took aim at Miller's contention that the era of earmarks is dead, saying aid to further build infrastructure in this still-young state is vital, not pork. She suggested--to loud applause--that if such cuts are to be made, perhaps the best place to start looking to make them is in the Lower 48.

Miller said a new day is coming and Alaska needs to be prepared. While the past few decades have been a blessing, he said--a period in which members of Alaska's delegation brought home billions in federal aid and projects--it's a "dream" to think that will continue. He believes the fights should be waged during the appropriations process.

But McAdams, like Murkowski, argued the need for Alaska to continue fighting for what he calls its fair share. Murkowski stressed her seniority as critical to helping to ensure Alaska's voice is heard.

Source: Associated Press coverage of 2010 Alaska Senate debate Oct 7, 2010

Joe Miller: Limit federal powers to those spelled out in Constitution

A big issue was money. Miller, who believes the powers of the federal government should be limited to those spelled out in the U.S. Constitution, has argued that federal deficits are crippling, Washington is out of control and Alaska must be weaned off its heavy reliance on federal help and given greater control of its own resources.
Source: Associated Press coverage of 2010 Alaska Senate debate Oct 7, 2010

Lisa Murkowski: Earmarked aid for Alaska is vital; cut pork in Lower 48

Murkowski took aim at Miller's contention that the era of earmarks is dead, saying aid to further build infrastructure in this still-young state is vital, not pork. She suggested--to loud applause--that if such cuts are to be made, perhaps the best place to start looking to make them is in the Lower 48.

Miller said a new day is coming and Alaska needs to be prepared. While the past few decades have been a blessing, he said--a period in which members of Alaska's delegation brought home billions in federal aid and projects--it's a "dream" to think that will continue. He believes the fights should be waged during the appropriations process.

But McAdams, like Murkowski, argued the need for Alaska to continue fighting for what he calls its fair share. Murkowski stressed her seniority as critical to helping to ensure Alaska's voice is heard.

Source: Associated Press coverage of 2010 Alaska Senate debate Oct 7, 2010

Scott McAdams: Fight for fair share of federal aid to Alaska

Murkowski took aim at Miller's contention that the era of earmarks is dead, saying aid to further build infrastructure in this still-young state is vital, not pork. She suggested--to loud applause--that if such cuts are to be made, perhaps the best place to start looking to make them is in the Lower 48.

Miller said a new day is coming and Alaska needs to be prepared. While the past few decades have been a blessing, he said--a period in which members of Alaska's delegation brought home billions in federal aid and projects--it's a "dream" to think that will continue. He believes the fights should be waged during the appropriations process.

But McAdams, like Murkowski, argued the need for Alaska to continue fighting for what he calls its fair share. Murkowski stressed her seniority as critical to helping to ensure Alaska's voice is heard.

Source: Associated Press coverage of 2010 Alaska Senate debate Oct 7, 2010

Joe Miller: Get rid of earmarks and regulations that limit development

During the debate it struck me that Joe Miller was a two-issue candidate who kept referring to the need to get rid of earmarks and regulations that limit development. Remember, he is supported by the tea party which would like to abolish Social Security, food stamps, federal education funding, Medicare and the new health care plan. It was very disturbing to me that he spoke as though all regulations were bad. Just think of what that could mean if regulations regarding mining development were repealed: Pebble Mine could start up and, oops, there goes the Bristol Bay fishery. Is this what Alaskans want, no one overseeing our industries? No regulations on pipeline construction and maintenance, the pharmaceutical industry, food? Sure it would be easier and cheaper for corporate interests but we've already seen the catastrophic results of poor regulatory control.
Source: Juneau Empire Op-Ed on 2010 Alaska Senate debate Oct 6, 2010

Joe Miller: Pledge against earmarks: we're over-dependent on feds

At a luncheon debate, "pork" and "earmarks" were also on the menu, the two buzzwords of the day reiterated dozens of times throughout the debate. McAdams began his introductory speech with a reading of a "no earmarks" pledge from the Citizens Against Government Waste signed by Miller.

"As we continue to responsibly develop our natural resources, we will bring our state into maturity," McAdams said. "But to say no to earmarks now is a threat to Alaska."

Miller argued that he was not against funds being brought to Alaska, but rather was concerned with the state's over-dependency on federal dollars. "We can pretend that this economic calamity isn't going to impact the state of Alaska," he said. "Or we can do our darnedest to find the direction that provides us with an economic base to move forward in the future."

McAdams said that arguing against projects--like the much maligned & lampooned "Bridge to Nowhere"--was arguing against the future of Alaska.

Source: Capital City Weekly coverage of 2010 Alaska Senate debate Sep 22, 2010

Scott McAdams: Banning earmarks now is a threat to Alaska

At a luncheon debate, "pork" and "earmarks" were also on the menu, the two buzzwords of the day reiterated dozens of times throughout the debate. McAdams began his introductory speech with a reading of a "no earmarks" pledge from the Citizens Against Government Waste signed by Miller.

"As we continue to responsibly develop our natural resources, we will bring our state into maturity," McAdams said. "But to say no to earmarks now is a threat to Alaska."

Miller argued that he was not against funds being brought to Alaska, but rather was concerned with the state's over-dependency on federal dollars. "We can pretend that this economic calamity isn't going to impact the state of Alaska," he said. "Or we can do our darnedest to find the direction that provides us with an economic base to move forward in the future."

McAdams said that arguing against projects--like the much maligned & lampooned "Bridge to Nowhere"--was arguing against the future of Alaska.

Source: Capital City Weekly coverage of 2010 Alaska Senate debate Sep 22, 2010

Joe Miller: Increase campaign limits; deregulate corporate donations

Q: Do you support increasing the amount individuals are permitted to contribute to federal campaigns?

A: Yes.

Q: Should Congress regulate indirect campaign contributions from corporations and unions?

A: No.

Q: Do you support removing all contribution limits on federal campaigns?

A: Yes.

Q: Should candidates for federal office be encouraged to meet voluntary spending limits?

A: No.

Q: Do you support giving the President the power of the line item veto?

A: Yes.

Source: Alaska Congressional Election 2010 Political Courage Test Sep 9, 2010

Sarah Palin: Overall reduction of 7% spending, plus state hiring freeze

Unless the price of a barrel of oil dramatically increases, soon, we're looking at a potential revenue shortfall in excess of a billion dollars this year. So with a close eye on price, we need to be willing to curtail spending as needed. If there's a shortfall, there are options. It'll take a cooperative spirit all around to see us through the uncertainty.

I had proposed we start with an overall reduction of seven percent from last year's expenditures. This is a real reduction, not just a reductio in the rate of spending increases--as cuts are often defined elsewhere. That's transparency in budgeting--just as the public saw when we put the state's checkbook online. We stand ready to work with lawmakers--who hold the purse strings--to amend the budget, as we receive revenue updates in weeks ahead.

I am implementing a hiring freeze, exempting public safety, and I am restricting non-essential purchases. These actions reduce the draw on savings as we monitor revenue for the rest of 2009.

Source: Alaska 2009 State of the State Address Jan 22, 2009

Sarah Palin: Comprehensive ethics reform: change politics as usual

Gov. Palin today signed House Bill 109 into law. The legislation improves Alaska’s ethics and disclosure laws. “It was so gratifying to be a part of a bipartisan effort, where the focus was on doing the right thing for the people of Alaska,” said Gov. Palin. “Comprehensive ethics reform was a priority of mine. HB 109 is a good first step toward changing the culture of politics as usual.”
Source: Alaska Governor’s Office: Press release 07-162 “Ethics Bill” Jul 9, 2007

Sarah Palin: Presented comprehensive ethics bill in early 2007

Keeping her campaign promise to govern in an open and transparent fashion, Gov. Palin presented an ethics bill to the Legislature on Jan. 24. The comprehensive bill tightens ethics within the executive branch, but touches upon all public servants. The bill mandates more detail in financial disclosure, encourages electronic access, further defines conflicts of interest, bans gifts from lobbyists, and tightens certain employment restrictions after leaving office.
Source: Alaska Governor’s Office: press release, “100th Day” Mar 13, 2007

Sarah Palin: Sell previous governor’s jet on eBay--it’s impractical

Governor Sarah Palin today [decided] to sell the jet that was purchased by former Governor Frank Murkowski’s administration. The Westwind II will be put up for auction on eBay. “The purchase of the jet was impractical and unwise and it’s time to get rid of it,” said Governor Palin. “In the meantime, I am keeping my promise not to set foot on the jet.”

The State has successfully used eBay in the past to sell State assets, including a former Marine Highways ferry, and several Public Safety aircraft. The State’s surplus property disposal policy is to use eBay for high value, mobile assets because it offers the widest possible exposure for these types of sales, at a low cost.

The jet was purchased for $2,692,600 in November 2005 by the Murkowski administration. Until final sale, Governor Palin has authorized the Department of Public Safety to use the jet for suitable operational purposes.

Source: Alaska Governor’s Office: Press release 06-006A, “E-Bay” Dec 12, 2006

Sarah Palin: Attended numerous debates & did not avoid any unnecessarily

[With regards to the previous BP debate]: What I did out there in Wasilla also, I was able to apply those Rotarian values, that four-way test about truthfulness and fairness. And I wish that that applied to state politics and to campaigns. Just yesterday, a real quick example of how the nature of the beast of politics is so far from that four-way test of Rotarians, it’s so unfortunate.

Yesterday--at the BP forum--I was invited weeks ago to show up. Well, I’d already met with the BP group. I just met with the president of BP. Wasn’t able to re-arrange my schedule to get there yesterday. And I get home last night and all over the news is ‘Sarah was a no show. She wasn’t at the debate.’ “There’s a sign out front making it look like I was supposed to be there and I wasn’t. But I wasn’t supposed to be there.

Source: Alaska 2006 Governor Debate: at Anchorage Rotary Oct 31, 2006

Ray Metcalfe: Restrict campaign donations from all sources; & vote online

Q: Do you support limiting the following types of contributions to state legislative and gubernatorial candidates: Individual?

A: Yes.

Q: PAC?

A: Yes.

Q: Corporate?

A: Yes.

Q: Political Parties?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you support requiring full and timely disclosure of campaign finance information?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you support partial funding from state taxes for state level political campaigns?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you support voting on-line?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you support adopting statewide standards for counting, verifying and ensuring accuracy of votes?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you support a preferential voting system?

A: Yes.

Source: Alaska Congressional 2002 National Political Awareness Test Nov 1, 2002

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