Alaska in Brief

Q&A with Alaska Senate District H candidate Matt Claman

By: - July 28, 2022 12:02 am

Rep. Matt Claman, D-Anchorage, speaks in favor of new restrictions on child marriage in Alaska on Wednesday, May 18, 2022, in the Alaska House. (Photo by James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

The Alaska Beacon asked Alaska’s legislative 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.

Matt Claman, Democratic candidate from Anchorage

Yes/No questions

The Alaska Constitution allows legislators to call a constitutional convention at any time. Are you interested in calling a convention?

No

Would you be willing to join a coalition majority in which the opposite political party controls a majority of seats?

Replied with an answer other than yes-no

Should new public employees have access to a pension?

Yes

Should the state take over the federal permitting process that regulates construction in wetlands?

No

Should Juneteenth be a state holiday?

Yes

Open-ended questions

How should the state of Alaska set the amount of the Permanent Fund dividend each year?

A responsible action plan for Alaska includes funding for public safety, public education, public health, and infrastructure development. The Alaska Constitution requires that the dividend program compete for state funding with other programs, and we should pay an affordable dividend.

What’s the biggest need in your district, and how would you address it?

As I go door-to-door in West Anchorage, citizens are concerned about fiscal responsibility, safe streets, quality education for our children, growing the economy with good jobs, and protecting our constitutional rights—the right to privacy in particular. I will continue to address issues by listening to the diverse voices in our state, working to find the areas where we can agree, and moving Alaska forward.

What policies and laws should Alaska follow with regard to abortion?

We should continue to support and defend the Alaska Constitution, including the right to privacy. Alaska’s right to privacy protects the individual right to make private, personal health care decisions, including reproductive health care decisions.

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

We should continue to support and defend the Alaska Constitution, including the right to keep and bear arms. In our work to improve public safety and make wise use of public safety resources, we should find ways to reduce gun violence and prevent mass shootings, which may include limiting access to firearms by convicted criminals and those who are a danger to themselves or others.

How much should a legislator’s faith or religion determine state law and policy?

Our political and social values often reflect our faith and religion. Legislators should respect the diverse faiths and religions of all Alaskans without infringing on the right to freedom of religion in the Alaska Constitution.

What should the state do to improve retention of public employees, including teachers?

Alaska should have a competitive salary and pension-based retirement system to help us recruit and retain skilled public employees. Today, we are training quality police officers, prosecutors, health care workers, firefighters, and teachers and then losing them to other states.

What does an ideal state ferry system look like?

A quality state ferry system should have a stable source of funding, including advanced funding, so that it can provide reliable, scheduled service to communities throughout coastal Alaska.

What, if any, changes does the state need to make to ensure voting is equitable and secure?

Alaska should continue our work to modify our voting laws to increase access to and participation in our elections while improving voter identification, ballot security, and ballot counting methods.

What do you intend to do about the poor returns of salmon in the Yukon and Kuskokwim drainages, and what are the main causes of the problems?

I support responsible, science-based management of Alaska’s fisheries, including salmon, for the maximum benefit of our people, as required by the Alaska Constitution. Science-based management should address the effects of climate change on our fisheries.

What constitutional amendments, if any, do you support?

Every session since I was first elected, I have introduced a resolution for an amendment to shorten the legislative session to 90 days. I continue to support an amendment for a 90-day session.

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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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