Democratic candidate for House District 34
Husband Mike, daughters Ellen and Mallory, son Ryan
Former social worker
Juneau School Board, five terms (15 years)
Masters of Social Work, San Diego State University
This year: home repairs. Most years: bills and travel.
Education (including early learning, K-12, career technical programs, university and job training), public safety (salaries and benefit compensation, opioid, substance abuse and mental health treatment, reforms in law as to provide for accountability measures for crimes), reliable transportation (ferries, roads, harbors, airports), health care, and local infrastructure projects.
Do you agree with using a portion of Alaskans' PFDs to fund state government? If not, what government services would you propose cutting or taxes would you propose raising to pay for it?
The PFD is critical to families and is a boost to the economy. I support a formula that protects the PFD and provides a robust PFD for generations to come. We are balancing paying for public services that we need and value, like public safety and education, with paying Alaskans their share of oil revenue. I do not think the budget should be balanced by only reducing the PFD.
I would look to efficiencies and improving government through audits, evaluating other states’ successes, and look to staff recommendations. For example, the state of Utah saved $100 million by using a streamlined paperwork system. I would be open to all fiscal solutions to pay for needed services and a robust PFD.
Do you support the state paying health care providers less? If not, how would you limit state spending on health care?
I support a strong competitive market. Having excellent health care providers is extremely important to Alaskans. Compensation needs to be fair to retain and attract providers. I support negotiating fair prices taking into account the high cost of doing business in Alaska.
Some ways to limit state spending on health care include: supporting Medicaid expansion; regulatory relief for hospitals and nursing homes; finding and reducing fraud; and voluntary pooling. I support looking into being able to participate across state lines to obtain prescription drugs. I know the Legislature authorized some innovative care models that work to transform payment and delivery systems in hopes of finding cost savings. I will look to those results for possible cost savings that will limit state spending on health care.
Where do you stand on the criminal justice reforms enacted by SB 91 and what changes (if any) would you like to see?
Senate Bill 91 was enacted without the necessary system of pretrial enforcement and treatment options necessary in the midst of a recession and opioid epidemic, and in a state where we lack mental health services. It was destined to have significant and serious flaws. Senate Bill 54 addressed some needed changes by increasing penalties for certain crimes. The legislature also funded some treatment programs, but more treatment cannot come fast enough for families and society, and for people who are suffering.
SB 91 needs to be amended further. For example, heroin possession was a Class C felony (with possible jail time). That was changed to a Class A misdemeanor with no jail time for the first few offenses. As a result, offenders were released, and there was no leverage to force people to get treatment or alert authorities to drug suppliers; and there were no consequences to provide incentives for treatment and illegal drug use. This needs to be fixed.
Previous domestic violence acts were also changed in Alaska Statute 18.66. For example, if a partner threatens you, doesn’t hurt you physically but smashes a baseball bat over something while threatening you, it is criminal mischief and not a significantly punishable crime. Yet, it is recognized by experts that acts of intimidation cause emotional harm, are on a continuum of violence and often times, if not addressed, lead to physical harm later. Stiffer consequences and penalties of domestic violence crimes in Alaska Statute 11.41 should be amended.
I would love to see the fast ferries continue running as a more convenient and efficient way to travel. I would need to evaluate the cost feasibility, with fuel, amount of ferry staffing and goods needed for longer versus fast ferry use, ridership, reliability, frequency, and operating parameters. It would need to take into account the needs and convenience to citizens, businesses, tourism, and school groups.
I believe the Alaska Marine Highway is an essential source of transportation for coastal communities and needs to be affordable, reliable, and sustainable. It is important that the ferries are marketed and have a user friendly schedule.