The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

 
 

By Lee Revis
Editor, Valdez Star 

Get to know candidates for senate and house

Brief questionnaire sheds light on Valdez issues

 


In the coming weeks, Valdez voters will be looking to get better acquainted with the candidates that are hoping to represent the citizenry in the Alaska House of Representatives and the State Senate. The new house and senate districts that include Valdez are vast areas and include communities that are hundreds of miles away; the candidates running for these seats in the upcoming primary election also live hundreds of miles away.

Many of the candidates have said they are planning to attend Gold Rush Days this week, in hopes of getting to know the people of Valdez. Additionally, the Valdez Star and KCHU news director Tony Gorman are hosting a face-to-face “Meet the Candidates” forum in Valdez this coming August, 23. All candidates for House District 6 and Senate District C have been invited to this forum that is open to the public.

In a further effort to help voters get to know these candidates for house and senate before then, the Valdez Star asked each candidate to give readers a snapshot of who they are. Each candidate was asked to provide the same biographical information and briefly answer two relevant questions. The answers each candidate gave are printed inside this week’s edition. The information on each candidate is printed in the order it was returned – first come, first serve - by the candidates.

District 6 Candidates for House of Representatives

Jamey Duhamel is 36 years old and is currently a community organizer. She has lived in Alaska 30-plus years. She said in her questionnaire, “ I was born on Elmendorf AFB before my father was re-assigned out of state for 6 years. We returned to Alaska in 1983.”

She has never before held an elective office.

Why do you want to represent Valdez and the rest of District 6 in the Alaska House of Representatives?

I am a life-long Alaskan and mother of four sons. I have dedicated my life to improving the futures of families and communities and want to continue my life’s work in Juneau. I firmly believe that a representative should serve the needs and concerns of the people and families within her district above all other influences. I know firsthand the day-to-day struggles we all go through to put food on the table, a roof over our heads, and provide the best education possible for our children.

Our district is facing a crucial time for making smart decisions that make long-term economic sense. Development of energy resources should create family-wage jobs while protecting the sustainable resources that make this an incredible place to live. Our children’s education should be a top priority and should adequately prepare them for the variety of jobs Alaska will have waiting for them.

When we make decisions that benefit the day-to-day lives of families first, we end up making smarter choices that serve the long term health of the entire state. What is good for families is good for all of Alaska.

Please learn more about me, and share with me your vision for a healthy future.

What, if any, plan do you back to develop Alaska’s North Slope natural gas reserves?

I support an All-Alaska LNG Gasline! Extracting the stranded natural gas from the North Slope and piping it to Valdez for export to Asian markets makes the most economic sense for Alaska. Valdez has the building and road foundations, the only highly accessible deep water port, and the perfect location to make this project a winner for families, the City of Valdez, and all of Alaska. The long term increased revenues to the entire state will make the City of Valdez an indispensible asset. I will fight to make this project a reality.

George Rauscher is 55 years old and says he is a business owner in the maintenance construction field. In his questionnaire he said “I have lived in this District 6 region for 35 years.”

His previously held elected positions include four years as chairman of the Sutton Town Council, Delegate to the State Convention 2012 representing District 6, Delegate to the Republican National Convention in Tampa Florida 2012, Director - Alpine Historical Park and Director – Alaska Eaglecrest Youth Ministries.

Why do you want to represent Valdez and the rest of District 6 in the Alaska House of Representatives?

I have a proven track record of getting large projects accomplished in our community, interacting with state, borough, and different commissions to go beyond their “stated confines” of bureaucratic red tape, in order to get things done. Under my administration the battle was fought and won by the community to be able to responsibly extract coal from our coal fields.

As I travel up and down our district, I see family after family striving to meet the high cost of fuel for heating, electric, and transportation. I intent to continue to seek new alternatives for fuel, like coal and hydro, but we must also strive to present gas as a serious competitor to oil, as completion will help lower the price to the consumer at retail.

What, if any, plan do you back to develop Alaska’s North Slope natural gas reserves?

I support representing all the people in my district; from Palmer/Fishhook through Glennallen, to Delta and Valdez. And the only plan that services all those people in my district is “The All Alaskan Pipeline to Valdez” with off-takes for the communities I represent.

Unlike chances gone by in the past, I will “protect” and “defend”, “every chance” for our gas-line to remain a “viable option” at the bargaining table, fighting diligently for all funding needed to put our best foot forward and remain at the top of our competition.

Eric A. Feige is 51 years old. He is the current representative of District 6 in the Alaska House. He is also a commercial pilot. He has lived in Alaska for 17 years and had never held a public office before he was elected to the House of Representatives in 2010.

Why do you want to represent Valdez and the rest of District 6 in the Alaska House of Representatives?

There is still work to do. Between lowering oil taxes and moving a large diameter pipeline project forward, I expect to be in a prime position as Co-Chairman of the Resources Committee to make it happen. These last two years have given me an even greater appreciation for the needs of our district. I look forward to effectively allocating our financial resources to bring better quality of life and cheaper energy to the district. Another term will give me the time to follow through on the Tiekel River hydro potential and work to finish (Valdez) projects like the Small Boat Harbor Expansion and the Senior Center renovations. I’ve proven that I can do the job, in all its facets, and look forward to putting my several years experience in the seat to good use. These are critical times ahead for our state and I believe we need calm, yet resolute, leaders who think and make good decisions before they act to solve those issues.

What, if any, plan do you back to develop Alaska’s North Slope natural gas reserves?

I believe that a large diameter natural gas pipeline that terminates at an LNG facility in the Valdez area best serves the Alaskan people by monetizing the North Slope gas reserves and economically delivering cheaper energy to the most Alaskans.

Senate District C Candidates

VALDEZ STAR SENATE QUESTIONAIRE RESPONSES – RALPH SEEKINS

Ralph Seekins is 67 years of age and is President/Owner of Seekins Ford-Lincoln in Fairbanks. He has lived in Alaska 38 years. He is a former member of the Alaska State Senate and a Republican National Committeeman for Alaska.

Why do you want to represent Valdez and District C?

We’ve lost our edge in developing our resources. We’re no closer to an All Alaska gas line to Valdez and restoring our oil production bringing good jobs to Valdez and all District C. The current Alaska Senate just keeps kicking those cans down the road.

Does it make sense to vote for another candidate who will join that Senate group?

I’m the real Republican choice – a pro-development, pro-family, pro-life, less-government candidate, with a state-wide and national career track record of getting things done. I can provide the energy, commitment, and leadership to get things done. Together, we can fix this.

What, if any, plan do you back to develop Alaska’s North Slope natural gas reserves?

The gas is there – hundreds of trillions of cubic feet worth. A huge Pacific Rim market exists. The only way to get our gas to that market is by large diameter pipeline to the port city of Valdez (with take-offs for in-state use), liquefy it, and transport it by ship to the buyers. But, if we don’t get in gear, someone else will beat us to that market – again. If nobody else will build it, Alaska should and then sell it to an operating company. We develop gas reserves by building a delivery system that gets it to market.

Anne Sudkamp is 51 years old and is retired from the University of Alaska Anchorage and Fairbanks. She is also a small business owner, Sudkamp Design. She says she’s lived in Alaska 48 years. She has never held an elected position in government, but was elected as council member for the International Arctic Social Sciences Association in 2004 and 2008; and council member for state project administrators, National Science Foundation Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, 2007 and 2009.

Why do you want to represent Valdez and District C?

Alaska has been good to my family – from our first beginnings in 1964 to today – and it’s time I give back.

What, if any, plan do you back to develop Alaska’s North Slope natural gas reserves?

Natural gas will be a solution to many of our current energy issues, from lowering the cost of heating to becoming another energy export. I will push for the legislation needed to get that gas moving south.

Click Bishop is 55 years old. He lists his occupation as miner/ active retired Operating Engineer Local 302. He said he lived in Alaska off and on since 1959, 1974 until present. He has never held an elected office.

Why do you want to represent Valdez and District C?

I have a 40 + year history living and working along the Richardson Highway. Because of that, I have acquired many long standing friendships with co-workers and acquaintances in that region and across District C. I have the unique ability to understand the working relationship between the employers and workers who serve this state, and want to use this for the betterment of District C and Alaska.

What, if any, plan do you back to develop Alaska’s North Slope natural gas reserves?

I believe the project that brings the best outcome for all Alaskans is the LNG route from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez with a spur line to Southcentral. The most affordable gas for the Alaskan consumer will be gas from a large diameter pipeline.

Our state cannot wait any longer on project studies; it has been Valdez for 25 years. In 1980 Green Construction Company cleared 800 acres for the ALPETCO chemical plant in anticipation for the impending gasline to Valdez. That, in and of itself, is just one example of economic diversification. With a gasline to tide water in Valdez we will grow our economic base in ways even the smartest minds can’t foresee now.

Study Hall is over! Build it now. If it takes some capitalization from the state to get this project over the top, then let’s do it.

As Commissioner of Labor in 2008 I spoke to the Valdez community. I laid out a compressive over view of the states’ gasline training plan. We are far better suited for maximizing Alaska hire today, than we were in 1974 for the construction of TAPS.

I would welcome the opportunity to speak to the Valdez community in greater detail on the entire spectrum of the gasline construction. I am ready, at your request, to do so. But, in my humble opinion, we have been talking way too long. Study Hall is over! Lets’ build it. Alaska and Alaskans cannot wait any longer.

Candidate David Eastman did not return the questionnaire.

 

Reader Comments

(3)

Suttonite writes:

The survey by a small fraction asked one question, Do you favor coal development in the Sutton Community Council area.'Answers were Yes, No, or No Opinion. More Sutton residents returned the survey than voted in the Borough election at that time. Decide for yourself who is a blatant liar.

Suttonite writes:

Surveys show that 82% of Sutton residents support coal production. When this controversy vame up coal supporters were elected to fill all seats on the council at the largest annual meeting and election I have seen in over 30 years. And then George was elected president of that council. Facts speak for themselves.

suttonite writes:

What George said about his administration fighting and winning a battle to mine coal is a complete, blatant lie. He was simply community council president when a tiny fraction of Sutton took a survey about whether the council should write a letter to the borough saying they want the mine. Not only did this letter have absolutely no influence, but coal is now further away from being being mined because of bad permits! Get real George!

 
 
 
 
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