The U.S. Capitol building. (Photo by Matt H. Wade via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA)
The Alaska Beacon asked Alaska’s 19 U.S. Senate 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.
Pat Chesbro, Democratic candidate from Palmer
Do you believe former President Donald Trump’s claims that the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent?
Should Election Day be a federal holiday?
Don Young was a longtime supporter of statehood for Puerto Rico. Do you support statehood for Puerto Rico?
Should marijuana be legalized federally?
Would you vote in favor of a bill that codifies abortion rights in US law?
What do you think about the overturning of Roe, and what actions should Congress take on abortion and contraception?
This ruling was a disaster inflicted on Americans by those in the Senate who knowingly confirmed the majority on the Court in spite of strong support by Americans and Alaskans for abortion access. We must fight to protect reproductive rights. We must codify abortion access in federal law and block the diminishment of reproductive rights by overzealous state laws that prohibit all abortions regardless of circumstance.
What’s Alaska’s biggest need, and how would you address it?
Alaska needs a fiscal plan with a view toward the future with shrinking oil revenues. We must diversify our economy and find ways to prevent the boom and bust scenario in the future.
How should Congress reduce the threat of gun violence and mass shootings?
There are many intersecting strategies to curb gun violence. Each weapon, especially in houses with children and teens, should have tamper-proof trigger locks. Proof of gun-safety and safe-storage training should be required when anyone purchases a firearm. We should buy back weapons from those who no longer wish to have them. Installing a waiting time for gun purchase could help to give angry or suicidal people time to think. I see no reason to continue to manufacture and sell assault weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines. Each state should have well-constructed red flag laws. I support robust research into gun violence, especially the causes and preventions of mass shootings.
What steps should Congress take to balance Alaska’s status as an oil state with the need to address climate change?
We have already seen catastrophic effects on coastal areas, salmon, ecosystems, and the Alaskan lifestyle due to climate change. We should halt further oil development in new areas and look for and fund renewable energy strategies, which will create jobs in Alaska. We must wean ourselves away from dependence on the oil industry to protect Alaska for future generations.
What changes or updates do you want to see in fisheries management?
We must find ways to reduce bycatch of Alaska’s seafood. Projects like Pebble Mine that threaten fisheries must be denied. We must preserve wetlands, which are critical habitat for salmon and other species.
Should Congress act to protect voting rights and encourage voting, and if so, how?
Congress must pass the John R Lewis Voting Rights Act to ensure safe and accessible voting. Making voting day a national holiday would help some people get to the polls, especially low income workers who do not have holidays at their workplaces. We need to advertise elections and provide unbiased information on candidates and issues.
Alaska has the highest health care costs in the nation. What will you do to reduce costs and improve access to services?
We need to increase the number of medical professionals, especially General Practice Physicians, Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants, Mental Health Workers, and Nurses. Telehealth provides additional ways to help those who live in remote areas get help. I have noticed that no longer do I get a printout of anticipated costs when I visit a health care facility. We need to require that health care facilities provide costs to patients so that they can be responsible consumers. Health care should be available to all, especially preventative care.
How should Congress protect the rights of LGBTQ Alaskans?
With the recent Supreme Court decisions, it appears that the rights of LGBTQ+ community are under threat and their rights must be codified in federal law, just as reproductive rights must be. Congress must protect the right of all Americans to marry the partner of their choice.
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?
Safe, enriching, and affordable child care is essential to working families. We must elevate the education and salaries of child care professionals and offer incentives for such education. Many, if not most, child care centers are privately owned with potentially crippling overhead costs and we must focus on reducing the overall costs.
What criteria would you use to judge the fitness of a judicial candidate?
We need to look at the varied experiences of our judicial candidates to make sure all Americans are represented in the Courts. All should have direct experience as attorneys and should be able to demonstrate their fair and unbiased approaches to the law. I would also look at compassion as a factor.
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