Meet the State Senate and House Candidates in the Nov. 4 General Election

STATE SENATE DISTRICT C

Albert M. Kookesh
(D-Angoon) incumbent
8 years in House,
4 years in Senate
Education: Law degree from UW
Family: Wife Sally and 5 children raised in Angoon.

Rosemary A. “Rory” Schneeberger (I-Hoonah)
Non-partisan, unaffiliated and independent (on left in photo)
Education: “Perpetual”
Family: Husband Peter and six children raised in Colorado, Wyoming and Anchorage, also has lived in Sitka and Hoonah.

QUESTIONS

1. Do you agree with the current wastewater standards for cruise ships established by voters last year? As a legislator, would you vote to change them?

2. The Juneau Access road to Katzehin has received a Corps of Engineers permit. Should the legislature fund this project? Why or why not?

3. Some of Alaska’s top elected officials have been under intense scrutiny for the past two years for a number of alleged ethics violations. Convince voters who are skeptical of the political process that your slate is clean and will remain so while in office.

4. What other issues are you passionate about for the people of this district?

SENATE ANSWERS

QUESTION ONE

KOOKESH: Yes. I agree and I would vote to change them only if it made sense for Alaska.

SCHNEEEBERGER: Wastewater standards for cruise ships: The vote of the people stands.

QUESTION TWO

KOOKESH: No. A road that doesn’t connect us to anything doesn’t make sense. I would rather spend that money to improve our Alaska Marine Highway.

SCHNEEEBERGER:Let's bring this to a vote of the people, too. I'm still listening, researching and studying this Juneau Access Road issue. As of today,I’m still not convinced of this "necessity."

QUESTION THREE

KOOKESH: My staff and I are very professional when it comes to running our office. Ethics is common sense.

SCHNEEEBERGER: There is no perfect candidate (see my website links: www.rory4ALASKA.com). I'm just as flawed as the next person. However, I'm interviewing for one of 60 LAWMAKING positions, NOT for a "politician" position. I don't "party" in the traditional sense. I plan on devoting my time in Alaska's part-time legislature to studying the issues placed before me if elected and researching them until a common-sense conclusion or solution is found that proves suitable and beneficial to the citizens in District C and the rest of our state. Special interest reps and lobbyists can meet with me in the OPEN - perhaps down in the State Capitol Lobby is most appropriate - NOT BEHIND CLOSED DOORS. As an independent, non-partisan, unaffiliated candidate, I am neither indebted to nor beholding to anyone. I'm free to run, free to serve and fed up...but HOPEFUL we can turn our state's public image around for good. We have to get back to doing the HARD things!

QUESTION FOUR

KOOKESH:
• Education: I support maximum education funding and the implementation of the cost differential program for rural schools. The state has the responsibility to educate all children on an equal basis.
• Power Cost Equalization: I support adding schools, businesses and clinics back into the PCE program. We worked hard to put almost $400 million to date back into the PCE endowment.
• Subsistence: I support a constitutional amendment for subsistence protection for all rural Alaskans. Alaska can manage its own resources within its boundaries if it would come into compliance with the U.S. Constitution. I live a subsistence lifestyle and understand how important it is to rural Alaska.
• Energy: I support funding for an Alaskan Energy Plan to outline a direction for Alaska as it relates to wind, hydro, gas, oil, and other alternative sources yet to be determined. Alaska has the resources to be energy efficient. We need to advocate for funding for a southeast intertie for a hydro projects.
Thank you for your support. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I look forward to working for you.

SCHNEEEBERGER:
• Fully fund the Alaska Marine Highway System.
• Push for responsible, timely completion of the INTERTIE.
• Fully fund road/bridge maintenance throughout District C and Alaska.

HOUSE DISTRICT 5

Tim R. June (D-Haines)
Founder, Alaska Clean Elections Initiative, vice chair Haines Borough Energy Task Force
Education: U of Calif. -Riverside
Family: Wife Susan Nelson

William A. (Bill) Thomas, Jr.
(R-Haines) incumbent
(Thomas on right in photo)
4years in House
Education: UAF, Haines High
Family: Wife Joyce Marie and 5 children raised in Haines

QUESTIONS

1. Do you agree with the current wastewater standards for cruise ships established by voters last year? As a legislator, would you vote to change them?

2. The Juneau Access road to Katzehin has received a Corps of Engineers permit. Should the legislature fund this project? Why or why not?

3. Some of Alaska’s top elected officials have been under intense scrutiny for the past two years for a number of alleged ethics violations. Convince voters who are skeptical of the political process that your slate is clean and will remain so while in office.

4. What other issues are you passionate about for the people of this district?

HOUSE ANSWERS

QUESTION ONE

JUNE: I support foreign flagged cruise ships meeting the same wastewater standards required of any other industry that discharges into Alaskaís waters. The standards are designed to protect human health and the health of our rich marine environment. I will work with the industry, EPA and DEC to find a safe and acceptable solution for any outstanding problems. I would not vote to change the standards unless we have adequate scientific data that determines adjustments are necessary.

THOMAS: We’re in touch with DEC right now to see what the regulations will be. If DEC recommends changes, then I would vote to change them. I don’t want to make a decision based on emotions and politics. I want DEC to make the decision. I’d like to see some of the ports take their wastewater and treat it through the ships.

QUESTION TWO

JUNE: No. I do not believe the Juneau Road is a viable project at this time. The expense outweighs the gain. Support for the Juneau Road undermines our common interest of an improved ferry service. Coastal Alaskans need to speak as one voice in order to get the support of other legislators in the state. The ferry system is our highway system and it must be funded and treated as such. We must expand our marine highway system into a true public transportation system that coordinates with other public transportation links in each community. We need to focus on efficiency and reliability to serve our present and future needs.

THOMAS: I say No, because right now we are requesting the governor to do a re-evaluation on the cost of building that road. I don’t support it anyway. Losing revenue from that upper Lynn Canal ferry route would gut the Alaska Marine Highway System and would reduce the level of service to other villages in the district.

QUESTION THREE

JUNE: In February 2007, I co-founded Alaskans for Clean Elections in order to fight legislative corruption in Alaska. I closed down my business for 18 months to serve as its full-time volunteer executive director and invested over $8,000 of my own money traveling around the state talking to Alaskans about the immediate need for campaign reform. I had the honor of working with many great Alaskans from across this state in a bi-partisan effort to address Alaska’s political corruption at its root – big special interest money in campaigns.
The FBI’s recently released taped conversation between VECO’s former executives in which they admit: “the only leverage VECO had to change votes on the 20/20 PPT (oil tax) legislation is through campaign contributions and by hosting fundraisers.” We have over 20 seated legislators who accepted $10,000 or more in campaign contributions from VECO including my opponent in this race.
It is my sincere belief that we cannot move forward as a state until we address this undue corrupting influence of special interests like VECO. In the last 25 years, it has cost us tens of billions of dollars in under-collected oil taxes and, if not addressed, will continue costing us billions more.

THOMAS: I have not been raided, and my office has not been searched. I didn’t “drink the Kool-Aid.” I always voted higher (percentages) for the PPT. I’ve been on the up and up. There’s ethics training each year, and we will continue the training process. My office goes through that too, and we will make sure we are on the up and up. If we have a concern or doubt about something, then we can always call the ethics committee.

QUESTION FOUR

JUNE: Alaska must immediately implement a comprehensive statewide renewable energy plan to lower energy costs and reduce our dependence on expensive fossil fuels. I have drafted such a plan on my website: www.timjune.com. In order to earn the necessary revenues to develop Alaska’s renewable energy infrastructure, we must elect leaders who will demand full return from our non-renewable resources of oil, gas and minerals. Our new infrastructure will include hydro, wind, solar, tidal, wave and geothermal energy generation. We may consider switching to electric cars, especially in our small land-locked communities, as a way to address the high cost gasoline for personal transportation.

THOMAS:
• Renewable energy – getting our energy costs down to make it feasible to live in the communities and stay in the district. Implement interties, build more hydro, and retire debt for co-ops.
• Work with the communities in trying to achieve their economic development plans.
• Working on infrastructure – replacing aging infrastructure and whatever issues communities and people bring forward. They’re the ones who tell me what to do.
• Work with Fish and Game to make the district as successful as we can.

VOTE NOV. 4 • Polls in Skagway open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.