Energy

Practical Affordable Energy

I support the goal of an instate natural gas pipeline system, bringing gas from … the North Slope, the Interior, Cook Inlet ... to Alaskans. I prefer that the private companies build and operate this pipeline. Alaska government may need to help out with some financial support but government should not own or operate this.

I support continued export of natural gas to Asian markets through the Nikiski LNG plant.

At the same time, I am very happy that we are making progress on a large hydroelectric dam on the Susitna River.

Affordable energy for our families, communities and businesses.

That’s what makes it possible for all of us to live here.

Businesses can’t function, create jobs and an economy, without affordable energy.

Will energy be “cheap”? Living in the Arctic (Alaska is part of the Arctic) is never cheap or easy! But with development of our resources, we can provide ourselves with less expensive energy … and export some to the world!

Economy

Strong diversified Alaska economy that will create sustainable, productive jobs in the private sector.

Since Gold Rush days, Alaska has experienced multiple cycles of economic boom and bust. Currently we are very dependent on the oil industry for 90% or more of our State's revenue, and I expect that relationship to continue.

As those of us who were here before the pipeline can attest, oil development has dramatically improved the lifestyle of Alaskans. The petroleum development has increased our population, provided good jobs, and the taxes have paid for improved roads, public safety and education.

Currently our State addresses economic planning just one year at a time. That horizon is too short to adequately address long-term constitutional mandates such as education and healthcare obligations. For budgeting and resource development we need to extend our planning vision. The Legislature also needs to take a hard look at what services are within the State's role and what are best provided by the private sector.

Economic stability and sustainability can be fostered with a more diverse economy, as well as ongoing development of our natural resources. The best way to promote value-added manufacturing is to encourage entrepreneurs. We have several organizations educating and mentoring entrepreneurs. It is equally important that state government doesn't present barriers to new businesses. I favor approaches that encourages innovation and fosters business diversity, the sparkplugs of a sustainable economic engine.

Resource Development

Reasonable Responsible Resource Development

Our Constitution and laws provide careful oversight and balance between preserving our environment and using the resources to create jobs and viable communities. Resource development jobs sustain individual's and communities in both urban and rural Alaska.

Alaska has not had unemployment rates as high as the 9.8% seen nationally... yet. But at 7.6% unemployment, Alaskans should be concerned. Resource development jobs are a critical part of our economy and job creation. North Dakota, which has very business-friendly policies, has unemployment about 3%.

A Job Brings Hope of a Bright Future

Employment in Alaska's resource development industries brings the hope of a productive future to areas of Alaska that offer few employment opportunities.

Although the cost of living in rural Alaska is high, there are few good paying jobs in most remote communities. There are some teachers, a postal agent or airline agent, but, in Kotzebue, a high school graduate working in the grocery store makes about $10/hour. That is not enough to become self-reliant when food and fuel are costly.

At nearby Red Dog Mine, a high school graduate can expect to start at nearly $60,000/year, and more skilled jobs pay $100,000/year or more. These are good paying jobs that allow rural citizens to support themselves, raise a family, and still choose a rural lifestyle of hunting and fishing.

Without the jobs that resource development brings to rural Alaska, many face discouragement and the hopelessness that contribute to a life of chemical dependency and, for too many, suicide.

Employment in our resource development industries brings the bright promise of a productive future to remote and rural Alaskans.

Education

Parental Involvement in Education

I am a cosponsor of SB 106 "K-12 Scholarship Program", which would allow State funding for each child's education to be managed by that child and his parents. This would permit families to choose the education format that best meets that child's educational needs.

All options must continue to be available to parents, including traditional public schools, optional school programs, private schools and home school. Home school in Alaska must continue to be parent-driven.

State oversight of education should be minimal. Control of schools needs to be at the local community level. Standardized, one-size-fits-all programs do not make sense.

Our high school graduation rates are around 67%. We are failing to engage too many of our young people with the existing approach to education.

I enthusiastically support Career and Technical Education (CTE). I believe that CTE opportunities must be made more available for both our high school students as well as adults seeking a change in careers.

Education of Alaska's youth

The Alaska Constitution, Art 7, sec. 1 states that the legislature shall maintain a system of public school. We have some great Alaska public schools and teachers! I genuinely support their efforts to educate our next generation!

I have been delighted to secure appropriations … for example … for Girdwood’s K-8 school to purchase functional furniture. Girdwood K-8 scores from 90.91% to 95.05% proficiency on Standards Based Assessment! That’s among the highest of other schools in the district! Clearly it’s a school that has strong parent support and involvement, and great teachers!

Parental involvement makes the biggest difference in a child's success. Parents help teachers succeed, parents make schools safer, parents make results happen!

I support Parental Choice in education. That means the ability of a parent to use the State allocated funds to choose the best education opportunity for their child...public school, charter school, specialty school (such as Gateway, for dyslexic kids), private school, or home school.

You and I are not “cookie cutter” people. We are each different, just as our kids are each different. Parents should have the opportunity to make the choice of the best education opportunity for each of their children.

Education is first, last and always about children. We need to support programs that succeed. We need to put more money into the classrooms, and less into the administration.

Healthcare

Alaskans making decisions about healthcare, rather than bureaucrats making those decisions.

Wise consumers use insurance to help offset risks that they could not afford to bear on their own. No one can afford to be insured for every possible risk in life, but we should be free to buy whatever type of insurance we determine that we need. Rules that force us to buy insurance plans that are bloated with government mandates are unfair and costly. In fact, requirements that we purchase health insurance are also unfair.

National Healthcare and Alaska

Farm bills are not about "carrots" and the Washington healthcare bill is not about "health". Both are about money and power. Taking and controlling more money and power. Some in Wahsington are now trying to impose what health you may have and how it will be taxed.

For Alaskans, this will mean less control over what healthcare we can choose and when we can receive it. Our district has citizens from all walks of life - seniors on fixed incomes to wealthy executives in multi-million dollar homes.

It will be the duty of every elected Alaskan to protect and defend against this assault on our freedom and liberty.

I understand this and plan to defend your freedoms.

The US Supreme Court has, by a 5-4 vote, determined that the national legislation is a constitutional tax on citizens. I am stunned by this crippling blow on our liberty, the incredible costs this will mean for businesses and the damage to our healthcare system!

Healthcare mandate and increase in National Debt

Just after passing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (HR3490), the US Congress continues to increase our national debt ceiling to $15 trillion. Cost projections for the PPACA legislation are about $1.05 trillion for the House version and $871 billion for the Senate version.

The bill contains 12 new taxes and 6 tax increases that will be taken from us all...at least the people who actually pay taxes.

The increase in the national debt ceiling is not even enough to cover the massive cost of the "Healthcare" legislation. So there will be significant cuts in Medicare benefits, as one cost cutting measure. This will put our Medicare beneficiaries in Alaska even further away from the healthcare they need.

A Rasmussen national survey shows that 55% of Americans were opposed to this "healthcare" legislation. In Alaska, Dittman Research found that 57% of Alaskans opposed the legislation. Among healthcare providers, Dittman found that 90% opposed passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Those who praise this legislation as beneficial to Alaskans must think we are really uninformed and unintelligent.

Constitutional Rights

I support strict interpretation of the U.S. Constitution and Alaska Constitution

Specific Constitutional topics:

U.S. Constitution:

Second Amendment - I support the right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear firearms.

Tenth Amendment - I support the authority of the individual States to determine issues not specifically delegated to the Federal government.

Alaska Constitution:

I support the individual's right to keep and bear arms

I support our State's definition of Marriage, existing between one man and one woman.

Article I, section 1, Inherent rights, including a natural right to life. I support the right to life, from conception to natural death.

Alaska State Budget

Restrained State Spending

We must control our state spending. Throughput of oil through the TransAlaska Pipeline (TAPS), and subsequent State oil revenue, is decreasing at a rate of more than 6% per year.

With about 90% of our budget coming from petroleum tax revenues, we have to face the facts.

As our state budget grows, so do the "formula driven" programs, such as education and medicaid; these two items alone make up 55% of our annual State budget. As our state government grows, so does payroll, benefits and retirement costs.

Somewhere, sometime soon, hard decisions are going to have to be made. Choices: state income tax, state sales tax... or reduce spending to match our income.

I support reducing our spending to match our income AND correcting the factors that are curtailing development of our vast resources and our under-developed private sector!

Paid for by Re-Elect Senator Cathy Giessel for State Senate, 12701 Ridgewood Rd, Anchorage, Alaska 99516