From the Editor's Desk:
Get to know your District Candidates
The statewide primary elections are two weeks away and Valdez voters will be asked to elect a House Representative in the newly formed District 9. Republicans have a choice of three candidates to vote for August 19. The winner of the primary will face-off against Mabel Wimmer, the lone Democrat running in District 9.
The Valdez Star sent each candidate a brief questionnaire asking for basic biographical information and each was asked to explain their platform in 400 words or less. Responses are published below in the order they were returned.
Absentee voting began late Monday at City Hall and polls are open during regular business hours.
Mabel H. Wimmer is 57 years old and lived in Mendeltna for 12 years. She was born in
Greensburg Penn. She is married to Russell A. Wimmer and they have four children, John Eric, age 38, Danielle, age 36, Vincent, age 34, and Pearl, age 32. She has also live in Anchorage, Eagle river and Wasilla. Sheattended both East Anchorage High and UAA.
She is owne of the Mendeltna Creek Lodge and never held an elected office.
As business owner I realize that high heating costs and electric bills are cutting into the ability of our locals' disposable income to support us. Also to maintain residency here in the Copper Basin. We need affordable and renewable energy. As well as jobs that will be created by A Gas Pipeline.
We need to build community that reaches out to the Tourism industry. By better understanding the changing needs of guests to Alaska, Eco Tourists, we have a lot to offer those seeking to experience this beautiful area.
My role as a Representative is to get to know the people in this very large district with diverse needs. It is not about outside interests, it's about Alaska.
Jim Colver, age 56, has lived in Hatcher Pass (Palmer) since 1984. He was born in Anchorage. He and wife Marie-Louise, have three children, Julia, age 14, Calum, age 12, and Hannah, age 28. He has also live in the Mat-Su Valley, Juneau and Anchorage; He has worked statewide: Prudhoe-Ketchikan 1976-curent. He attended University of Alaska, Anchorage ( UAA), A.S. Surveying Technology; UAA - Business Management, Law; West Anchorage High School. He is the owner of Colver Surveying. Previous elected offices held are: Assembly member, Mat-Su Borough (MSB) 2009-currrent, Vice-Chair MSB Fish & Wildlife Commission 2009-2014, School Board Member MSB 2006-2009, School Board President , Deputy Mayor and Assembly member MSB 2000-2006.
Valdez is at a turning point. The people of Valdez need a representative who will listens to their concerns and who will look after their needs in the legislature.
I have the experience as an elected official as well as the professional background, to make a difference from day one. I operate a surveying business and have 14 years of experience in local government, solving problems as an Assembly member, Deputy Mayor, and School Board President in the Mat-Su Borough. I am the guy working next to you on the road project, or at the terminal during the day, while spending my nights in meetings, applying the same work ethic there, in order to get results.
As a lifelong Alaskan, I share many of the same values as you: minimal government, good paying jobs, and opportunities for our families. Our government has gotten out of hand, and we need to cut red tape, using the savings to pay for essential services like roads, schools and public safety. These are my priorities.
I believe in developing our resources; oil, gas, minerals and timber. We need more jobs, and I will fight for Alaska Local Hire.
Our residents need safer roads. We need to build a new route around Long Lake on the Glenn Highway, as well as repave the Richardson Hwy north of Thompson Pass.
Our kids need a good education, and I support traditional schools and home schooling. I believe school funding needs to go into the classrooms, not up the chimney for expensive energy.
One of the biggest issues facing Valdez and Richardson Highway residents is the high cost of energy. I vow to make a change. If gas is produced at the AHTNA well in Glennallen, I plan to fund a gasline from the well to the CVEA power plant which will produce cheaper electricity. I will also seek funding to complete the Allison Creek Hydro project. And more importantly, I won't give up on a Gasline to Valdez – For 35 years, all we have had is political pipelines. This HAS to change.
I will defend your right to bear arms, and I support policies that put moose, caribou and salmon on our dinner table. Conservation of fish and game stocks must come first.
I will listen to you! I ask for your vote on August 19th.
George Rauscher is 57 years old and has live in Sutton for 36 years. He did not list his place of birth. His wife's name is Elizabeth and he has three children, Morgan, Mary, Ashley, and Em. He has worked in Hooper Bay, King Cove, Bethel, Juneau, Palmer, Wasilla, Sutton, Sheep Mountain, Chistochina, Prudhoe Bay, Yantarnie Bay, San Juan Bay, Saw Mill Bay, Seward, Homer, Beluga, Marshall, Soldotna etc. He attended Mat Su Community College, University Anchorage Alaska, University Fairbanks Alaska. He is self-employed, remodeling log houses. Previous elected offices held: Sutton Community Council Director, eight years, Sutton Community Council Chairman, four years.
Our Platform is based on the conservative principles of individual freedoms and less government. We believe in unleashing the inherent abilities of the individual to pursue economic gains in the pursuit of wealth just like our Constitution promised. It is the citizen who is willing to pursue an economic venture that provides the spark to ignite the flame of prosperity. We in government must provide the environment to allow the flame to grow. We cannot be the water bucket of regulations and taxes that will extinguish the flame of free enterprise.
Our platform supports the government's role in economic development by promoting lower taxes, less regulation. We support government's responsibility for proper infrastructure i.e. roads airports and ports. We believe government is responsible for education, public safety, low cost and abundant energy, as well as community livability. When all these things are present in reasonable proportions the flame of free enterprise will be ignited in Valdez. It is the individual entrepreneurs in Valdez that will provide the economic engine. It is the purpose of our campaign to facilitate Valdez economic growth.
Valdez has always been a transportation hub for the interior. We need to help the transportation industry grow. I pledge to support Valdez to help unlock interior natural resources for national and international export.
Valdez is the Switzerland of Alaska. Its beauty and the beauty of Prince William Sound is world class. I will support the summer and winter tourism industry for Valdez.
Valdez has great fisheries for both commercial and sportsman. I will aggressively support the fishing industry.
Valdez is the terminal for the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. I will support the exploration for new oil and for the enhancement of oil recovery from the existing fields at every opportunity. We all recognize that oil is now paying over 90% of the State's bills. This is a resource that must be protected and encouraged to grow.
It appears that the new large diameter gas line will not terminate in Valdez, but one thing is certain, the line will be built and terminate where economics dictate.
Incumbent Eric Feige is 53 years old and has lived in Chickaloon or over 14 years. He was born in Meriden, Conn. He and wife Corri are parents to Sidney, age 14. His Alaska residency began in 1995, and he lived also in Bethel for one year and Aniak for four years.
Education includes a BS, US Military Academy, West Point, NY 1983, MS Penn State University 1991. He listed his occupation as State Representative, State of Alaska.
I am a pro-resource economy legislator with strong experience in oil, transportation, and fisheries.
I believe strongly in growing our fisheries resource with hatchery and other enhancement programs. VFDA and PWSAC are two organizations that underpin both commercial and sports fishing in the Sound and Valdez. The main reason we don't have conflict within our fisheries is because we have caused the fish to be plentiful and all participants benefit.
I believe in a strong oil sector within our economy. Increasing the production of oil will keep Valdez and Alaska's economy strong. Alyeska runs a great operation, vital to our state and communities success. They deserve all the support we can give them.
I am in favor of greater diversification of our economy into all our resources and strongly support timber, mining, and growing our hunting and fishing. All these statewide efforts will increase demand for transportation of goods and services through Valdez and the container facility.
Energy cost remains a significant challenge to our economy. Projects like Allison Creek Hydro, trucked/barged LNG, and wood pellets will continue to chip away at the high cost of diesel and further diversify our energy sources to assist in lowering the cost of living.
Our youth need the best educational opportunities that we can provide to prepare them for the challenges of working in a resource based economy. Whatever our children decide to pursue in life, they will need an education that gives them the skills to compete against anyone in the world successfully. They should have enough educational choice available to go either onto college or into the work force to meet their interests.
And while we develop our economy we must continue to remain vigilant and protect the beauty and environment of Prince William Sound. We must continue to maintain our high environmental standards and give our agencies including the Coast Guard the support and financing they need to do the job.
Over the last four years I have paid attention to Valdez and done what I could to meet the needs of it residents. Whether it is additional funding for public works projects, improvements to the highway system, or communicating special needs like ferry service to the appropriate state agency, I will continue to be attentive to your needs.