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

  • By KAYLEE OSOWSKI
  • 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 kaylee.osowski@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

Alaska Department of Fish and Game logo. (Graphic by Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Board of Fisheries approves Kenai River king salmon action plan

The plan adds bait restrictions for in-river fisheries, doubles the sport bag limit for sockeye salmon, and adds a swath of restrictions to the commercial setnet fishery

The Kenai Municipal Airport is seen on Friday, Oct. 6, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
New Grant Aviation planes to double service’s flight capacity

The first of two Cessna 208B EX Grand Caravans will start transporting passengers on Monday

Stickers are available for voters at the Kenai No. 1 precinct for Election Day on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna to hold ‘I Voted’ sticker design contest

City council members approved the program during their Wednesday night meeting

Rep. Justin Ruffridge, R-Soldotna, speaks in support of a bill increasing state funds for public education in the Alaska House of Representatives on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024 in Juneau, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Bill seeking to bump use of Alaska Performance Scholarship clears the House with unanimous support

The money is awarded to high-performing high school graduates to help pay for postsecondary education at participating institutions in Alaska

Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities Commissioner Ryan Anderson answers questions from state senators during a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024 in Juneau, Alaska. (Mark Sabbatini/Juneau Empire)
State officials working to meet Friday deadline for revised transportation plan

The federal government rejected the plan on Feb. 9, citing numerous deficiencies

Travis Every, top left, speaks in support of fishing opportunity for the east side setnet fishery before the State Board of Fisheries at the Egan Convention Center in Anchorage, Alaska, on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Local fishers talk conservation, opportunity before Board of Fisheries in Anchorage

Local fishers from the Kenai Peninsula traveled to Anchorage this weekend to… Continue reading

Sen. Jesse Bjorkman, R-Nikiski, presents information on a bill establishing a voluntary buyback program for Cook Inlet’s east side setnet fishery on Monday, Feb. 19, 2024, in Juneau, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Bjorkman bill would pay bonuses to nationally certified teachers

The Alaska Department of Education and Early Development estimates that the bonus program would apply to about 215 of Alaska’s estimated 7,315 teachers — about 3%

Alaska senators meet with members of the media to discuss education legislation after a press conference by Gov. Mike Dunleavy on the topic on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, in Juneau, Alaska. (Mark Sabbatini/Juneau Empire)
Dunleavy threatens veto of education bill if more of his priorities aren’t added

It is not certain there would be the 40 votes necessary to override a veto by the governor

A map displays a wide-ranging special weather statement, published Tuesday by the National Weather Service, covering Southcentral Alaska. (Map courtesy of National Weather Service)
Strong winds, low wind chills forecast through Friday

Wind chills over night may reach as low as -20 to -40 degrees in much of Southcentral

Most Read