Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor
My husband, Rusty Gump, and son Ryan
I have worked in rural economic development and workforce development, as well as in the oil and gas industry, including managing the Alaska Native hire program at Alyeska Pipeline. I chaired the Alaska Job Training Council under Gov. Hickel. I have also previously served as president of Knik Tribal Council, and most recently retired as director of operations at the Alaska Native Heritage Center.
MBA from Washington State University
I save it to pay for my son’s college education.
My top priority for the budget is education, which is why I strongly support Mark Begich’s “Invest in Alaska” plan, which will constitutionally protect the Permanent Fund and ensure that half of the earnings go to pay the Dividend, as Gov. Jay Hammond envisioned, and that the other half would be reserved to fund education. This would remove two of the most contentious topics from the legislature. Once politicians stop debating the size of the Dividend and pink-slipping our teachers, they can get to work putting Alaska back on a long-term, sustainable fiscal path.
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?
Mark’s plan would ensure that a full PFD would be paid out in perpetuity, using the POMV formula to calculate earnings. This reflects Jay Hammond’s vision for the Permanent Fund, with half of the earnings going to the dividend, and half being available for government if necessary. Mark’s plan would ensure that the Fund was inflation-proofed, and that the other half of the earnings would be used to pay for education. This would then free up to $1.3 billion in the general fund, which can be used for other priorities such as public safety, infrastructure, and social services.
Do you support the state paying health care providers less? If not, how would you limit state spending on health care?
We have to reform the entire health care system, not just tweak specific payments or policies. There are several concrete steps the state can take to reduce the cost and expand access to health care. For one thing, the state should leverage its purchasing power to negotiate the price of treatment and pharmaceuticals. For another, it should partner with other small, rural states to form a larger, joint risk pool, which would bring premiums down. Third, it should continue to explore creative partnerships, like the one between ANTHC and the VA, which allows veterans to use Native health facilities.
Where do you stand on the criminal justice reforms enacted by SB 91 and what changes (if any) would you like to see?
Our criminal justice system has been broken for a long time. And while Senate Bill 91 didn’t cause these problems, it did exacerbate them. But the debate about whether to tweak or repeal SB 91 misses the forest for the trees. The fact of the matter is, SB 91 has failed. We need to start over and take a holistic approach to fixing our criminal justice system. This begins with filling the open positions we have that are fully funded: for example 40 state trooper and 20 corrections positions. We also have to fully fund our system, which means going back to 5 full days of court instead of four. At the same time, we have to make sure that sentencing is commensurate with the crime, and that we’re not creating a revolving door system for people committing crimes. At the same time, we must recognize that the majority of people in our correctional facilities have some sort of drug or alcohol problem. We must focus on treatment and rehabilitation alongside enforcement and prosecution. And finally, we must recognize that there are some people that just should not be put through the traditional criminal justice system — for example, young, first-time, non-violent offenders. Creative approaches like youth courts and wellness courts can not only alleviate some of the burden on our criminal justice system, but can also serve as an early intervention for people who made a mistake but do not pose a threat to society so long as they get the proper resources.
Yes, I would. We must continue to expand access to transportation across the state.