Photo by Kaylee Osowski/Peninsula Clarion  From right Carolyn Clift, libertarian; Gov. Sean Parnell, Republican; J.R. Myers, Alaska Constitution; and Bill Walker, independent, participate in a gubernatorial forum at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Wednesday.

Photo by Kaylee Osowski/Peninsula Clarion From right Carolyn Clift, libertarian; Gov. Sean Parnell, Republican; J.R. Myers, Alaska Constitution; and Bill Walker, independent, participate in a gubernatorial forum at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Wednesday.

Parnell, Walker joust at forum

  • Wednesday, October 8, 2014 11:35pm
  • News

While one candidate reminded voters that they have four options for governor, two opponents spent some time during a Wednesday debate trying to discredit one another.

Independent candidate Bill Walker said in discussing the budget during the race, he has been under attack by Gov. Sean Parnell’s campaign.

“We need to put all the projects on the table, all the issues on the table,” Walker said. “I was recently called out about why would I not make a decision about the road to Juneau.”

“I’m not sure it’s being under attack when I point out that Bill Walker’s plan for cutting the budget is reducing 16 percent in one year and then asking him for the plan on how that gets allocated,” Parnell said. “That’s what he’s calling an attack.”

Parnell, a Republican, said Walker has said education is on the table for cuts, but has also talked about increasing funding to education.

“You cannot have it both ways,” Parnell said. “You have a governor with a track record of working to spend less.”

Walker said Parnell is misquoting him and that the 16 percent in cuts would be over a period of time, or revenue would need to be increased.

“I didn’t create this mess,” Walker said. “Governor Parnell’s administration created the largest deficit we ever had. I get criticized because I’m not doing enough to articulate how I’m going to clean up his mess.”

J.R. Myers, an Alaska Constitution Party candidate, and Carolyn Clift, Libertarian, are also running — as Myers reminded a full house at the joint Kenai and Soldotna Chambers of Commerce gubernatorial forum at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex.

Myers said he hopes to gain 3 percent or more of the vote in Alaska, which will give his party political party status.

“We think that the existing parties have faltered in their promises to the people of Alaska, so we’re hoping to be established,” Myers said.

Myers said the state needs to create a sustainable budget by addressing expenditures. He said he would consider cutting projects like the road to Juneau.

“It’s a total waste of money,” he said. … “It will serve no one’s interests except the people that are building it perhaps.”

Referring to the operating budget, Myers said priorities need to be rethought because it is too high and unsustainable.

“There’s going to be some tough decisions that are going to have to be made,” Myers said.

Clift said as a Libertarian she will minimize government and decrease spending, if elected.

“We know the oil price is down, we are not going to be able to sustain the government that we have going on right now,” Clift said.

Clift said unnecessary projects need to be cut and transportation systems need to be maintained.

In the operating budget, Clift said she wouldn’t add to it.

“As a good leader I’m going to call in all the department heads and ask all of them to look at those departments and find those cuts themselves,” she said. “And I’m going to ask all of the administration to take a 10 percent cut in pay.”

Parnell discussed why he declined federal funds to expand Medicaid and two candidates said they wouldn’t have expanded the program either.

“We would be taking billions of dollars that would be borrowed by our national government from foreign entities when we already have a $17 trillion debt,” Parnell said. “I think there are smarter ways to go when it comes to health care for those at 100 percent of the federal poverty level or below.”

Clift agreed and said in two years Alaska would have had to pick up the bill from the federal government.

Not participating in Medicaid expansion is a wise decision, Myers said.

“The money is not even real,” he said. “It’s being printed out of thin air. The feds saying, ‘We’ll give you this money.’ What money? It’s just more of the same of this false government growth that has no basis in reality and it’s going to be a bubble that’s going to burst at some point.”

Walker said he would expand Medicaid. He said it helps many Alaskans.

“We accept matching funds from the federal government all the time on highways and we’ll do it on a 50-50 basis, but we won’t do 100 percent on health care,” Walker said. “There’s something wrong with that.”

The candidates were asked about whether they think the Alaska Board of Fish 2017 Upper Cook Inlet Finfish meeting should be held on the Kenai Peninsula.

Parnell, Myers and Clift all said the Board of Fish need to meet throughout stakeholder areas. Parnell said he has tried to get the on the meeting on the Kenai Peninsula in the past.

If elected, Walker said, “The Board of Fish will meet on the Peninsula.”


Kaylee Osowski can be reached at

More in News

Nate Rochon cleans fish after dipnetting in the Kasilof River, on June 25, 2019, in Kasilof, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
King closures continue; Kasilof dipnet opens Saturday

The early-run Kenai River king sport fishery remains closed, and fishing for kings of any size is prohibited

An "Al Gross for Congress" sign sits near the driveway to Gross’ home in Anchorage, Alaska, on Tuesday, June 21, 2022, after he announced plans to withdraw from the U.S. House race. Gross has given little explanation in two statements for why he is ending his campaign, and a woman who answered the door at the Gross home asked a reporter to leave the property. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)
Alaska judge rules Sweeney won’t advance to special election

JUNEAU — A state court judge ruled Friday that Alaska elections officials… Continue reading

Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion 
Soldotna City Manager Stephanie Queen listens to a presentation from Alaska Communications during a meeting of the Soldotna City Council on Wednesday, March 9, 2022 in Soldotna, Alaska.
ACS pilots fiber program in certain peninsula neighborhoods

The fiber to the home service will make available the fastest internet home speeds on the peninsula

Nurse Tracy Silta draws a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the walk-in clinic at the intersection of the Kenai Spur and Sterling Highways in Soldotna, Alaska on Wednesday, June 9, 2021. COVID-19 vaccines for kids younger than 5 years old are now approved by both the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Camille Botello / Peninsula Clarion)
COVID shots for kids under 5 available at public health

Roughly 18 million kids nationwide will now be eligible to get their COVID vaccines.

Megan Mitchell, left, and Nick McCoy protest the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning of Roe v. Wade at the intersection of the Kenai Spur and Sterling highways on Friday, June 24, 2022 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Heartbroken’, ‘Betrayed’: Alaskans react to Roe decision

Supreme Court decision ends nearly 50 years of legally protected access to abortion

Demonstrators gather outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday, June 24, 2022. The Supreme Court has ended constitutional protections for abortion that had been in place nearly 50 years, a decision by its conservative majority to overturn the court’s landmark abortion cases. (AP Photo / Jose Luis Magana)
Alaskans react to Supreme Court overturn of Roe v. Wade

The Supreme Court has ended constitutional protections for abortion.

Tara Sweeney, a Republican seeking the sole U.S. House seat in Alaska, speaks during a forum for candidates, May 12, 2022, in Anchorage, Alaska. (AP Photo/ Mark Thiessen)
Lawsuit says Sweeney should advance in Alaska US House race

The lawsuit says the fifth-place finisher in the special primary, Republican Tara Sweeney, should be put on the August special election ballot

Gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker stands in the Peninsula Clarion office on Friday, May 6, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Alaska AFL-CIO endorses Walker, Murkowski, Peltola

The AFL-CIO is Alaska’s largest labor organization and has historically been one of its most powerful political groups

A portion of a draft letter from Jeffrey Clark is displayed as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol continues to reveal its findings of a year-long investigation, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Federal agents search Trump-era official’s home, subpoena GOP leaders

Authorities on Wednesday searched the Virginia home of Jeffrey Clark

Most Read