Alaska in Brief

Q&A with 2022 Alaska U.S. House candidate Tara Sweeney

By: - July 28, 2022 12:34 am

The chambers of the U.S. House of Representatives are seen in 2017 in this photograph from the Office of the Speaker of the House. (Wikimedia Commons photo)

The Alaska Beacon asked Alaska’s 22 U.S. House candidates to answer a 15-question survey about their positions on a variety of issues. Read all of their responses here. Answers have not been edited.

Tara Sweeney, Republican candidate from Anchorage

Yes/no questions

Do you believe former President Donald Trump’s claims that the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent?

No

Should Election Day be a federal holiday?

Yes

Don Young was a longtime supporter of statehood for Puerto Rico. Do you support statehood for Puerto Rico?

Did not answer

Should marijuana be legalized federally?

Yes

Would you vote in favor of a bill that codifies abortion rights in US law?

Yes

Open-ended questions

What do you think about the overturning of Roe, and what actions should Congress take on abortion and contraception?

I support a women’s right to choose and I would support a straight codification of Roe v. Wade. I do not believe that the federal government should have a role in a woman’s healthcare decisions. That decision is between a woman and her medical provider. I do not support using Federal funds for abortions.

What’s Alaska’s biggest need, and how would you address it?

Alaska is a resource rich but infrastructure poor state. Our roads, bridges, ports, ferries, water treatment plants, and sanitation systems are severely lacking. With passage of last year’s infrastructure package, billions of dollars of much needed investment are headed our way. We must work together to maximize this investment and make sure we have an Alaskan workforce that is ready to fill the jobs. I will continue to fight for Alaska’s fair share.

How should Congress reduce the threat of gun violence and mass shootings?

There is no single, quick, or simple fix to this problem. First, we must be willing to get out of our “political corners” and have deep, honest discussions about these tragedies to figure out ways to stop them from happening. Mental health experts, education and public safety professionals, gun rights’ advocates, and community leaders must all come to the table and be included in a substantive conversation about solutions. I grew up in a household with guns, and I respect and understand their utility. I am open to considering commonsense and bipartisan proposals to address these serious problems. Any proposal must respect Alaskans’ Second Amendment rights and be disciplined and thoughtful in its approach. My goal would be to find a compromise that would strengthen school safety measures without sacrificing the rights of the thousands of responsible Alaskan gun owners who take their duty of care and safety seriously.

What steps should Congress take to balance Alaska’s status as an oil state with the need to address climate change?

Alaska has the highest standards for environmental protection in the world. Growing up on the North Slope, I understand the importance of ensuring local perspectives have a seat at the decision-making table. Taking best practices from North Slope community engagement and project development and incorporating them into an Alaska standard, is where I would start.

As Wall Street attempts to drive behavior in supplication to extremist environmental groups, Alaskan companies are engaged in opportunities to lead our Nation in carbon capture technologies, carbon sequestration, and off-sets to voluntarily mitigate their carbon footprints. We can still do more by working together.

Further, over millennia, the only constant the Alaskan Native population has known is change, and climate change is no different. We are a highly adaptive population, so ensuring that Alaska Native knowledge is incorporated into the public process is critical.

Across our state we are seeing hunting, fishing and gathering seasons and conditions change; migration of the animals is changing; our ground and marine ecosystems are changing. All stakeholders need to come together to carve a sustainable path forward for the benefit of Alaskans today and generations into the future.

What changes or updates do you want to see in fisheries management?

Sustainable fish management is critical for all user groups to feed their families. Subsistence, personal use, commercial and sports fishing stakeholders are all concerned about the declining, and in some cases decimation, of fish stocks across the state. My approach is to secure the funding necessary for research and data collection in-order-to understand why certain species and stocks are declining or crashing, and to appropriate federal funds for innovation within the industry to support sustainable maximum yield. I will also work to bring together all user groups to be part of the discussion and strategy for fisheries management, because working together is the Alaskan way.

Should Congress act to protect voting rights and encourage voting, and if so, how?

We need to make sure that that our voting system is free from discrimination, fair, and every American has equal access to the ballot. That said, any reforms or proposals can’t be partisan in nature, it needs to be a bipartisan approach.

Alaska has the highest health care costs in the nation. What will you do to reduce costs and improve access to services?

Access to health care, mental health and substance abuse services across the state must be a priority. Due to the vast distances and infrastructure challenges, we need innovative approaches for service delivery and the necessary infrastructure to deliver these services. I will continue to fight for access to these types of services for Alaskans.

How should Congress protect the rights of LGBTQ Alaskans?

I strongly believe that as a society we should lead with compassion. We need to provide the necessary support networks for those either struggling with their own gender or sexual orientation, or those who are out & proud. I stand by my Iñupiaq value, Nagliktuutiqaġniq, Compassion, and will fight to preserve compassion towards the LGBTQ+ community- every day.

Alaska families say they’re struggling financially in a variety of ways, including with child care. What actions should Congress take to support families with children?

One of my priorities is fostering safe and healthy communities. We need to make sure Alaskans have access to high-quality, reliable and affordable child care.

What improvements to Alaskans’ day to day lives can you make from the House of Representatives?

Regardless of where you live in Alaska, we need a robust economy and a strong labor force to continue to meet the needs of, and empower, Alaskans. One of my top priorities will be to focus on how to drive investment into our state. As one representative for Alaska, I will build the necessary networks in Congress to ensure that Alaska’s voice is heard. For nearly 50 years Congressman Young fought tirelessly for our state, and I will continue that legacy.

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James Brooks
James Brooks

James Brooks is a longtime Alaska reporter, having previously worked at the Anchorage Daily News, Juneau Empire, Kodiak Mirror and Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. A graduate of Virginia Tech, he is married to Caitlyn Ellis, owns a house in Juneau and has a small sled dog named Barley. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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