Article 8 of our state constitution requires that the resources of Alaska be developed and preserved for the "maximum benefit of its people." We have fallen far short of fulfilling this obligation. We need a new business plan. We need to cut the unnecessary red tape that stifles development. But most importantly, we must continue to negotiate for a greater share for Alaskans - an owner's share that is consistent with our constitutional mandate. It's time to take responsibility and get down to business.
Change the Rules
The state constitution in Article 1 declares that all political power belongs to the people. But for too long the party gatekeepers in Juneau have manipulated the rules. The game has been rigged. They have ignored the people and silenced their elected representatives. We need to change the game. We cannot allow all power to be concentrated under a few partisan hacks. Read more to see how we can change the political game and return power to the people.
Yes, there are cuts that must be made. As any sensible person knows, we cannot keep spending more than we make. That is a fiscal path to economic ruin. There are massive state subsidies that must be reduced. But we must also beware the siren song of magical cuts that fix all of our problems. Remember that SB 91 promised budget savings but created far more problems than it solved. We must be mindful of unintended consequences, and we must act with fiscal restraint.
Permanent Fund Dividend
Over the past few years the average family of four has had more than $20,000 cut from their dividends. This has been a staggering blow to low income Alaskans. But while the people face cuts, billions in cash has been paid to corporate campaign contributors in a massive entitlement scheme. Our constitution is being trampled by legislators who barely even pretend to work for the maximum benefit of the people. But we must not give up hope or accept that the people's share of Alaska's resources is lost. Follow our campaign to see some of my ideas to protect and defend the Permanent Fund Dividend.
Article 7 of our constitution clarifies our duty to establish and maintain Alaska’s schools. But we face great difficulty in our educational systems. We’re falling behind in early childhood reading. The state is cutting payments to school bonds. And our university remains a land grant institution without any land (we rank behind Rhode Island). The historical fact of Alaska’s placement as the 49th state doesn’t have to be our defining position in education. Working together we can do better to build a future we can be proud of.
Mental Health and Suicide Prevention
This issue is a very personal one. For those of us who have lost family members to suicide, or seen loved ones struggle with mental health problems, we cannot allow this anguish to spread unabated. We must replace stigma with understanding. We cannot allow those suffering to be relegated to the shadows of desperation. This should not be a partisan issue for party quibbling. We must band together to shine a light in this darkness, and lend a hand to those in need.