Alaska in Brief

Q&A with Alaska Senate District K candidate John Cunningham

By: - July 28, 2022 12:25 am
The Senate chambers are seen at the Alaska State Capitol on Friday, May 13, 2022, in Juneau, Alaska. (Photo by James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

The Senate chambers are seen at the Alaska State Capitol on Friday, May 13, 2022, in Juneau, Alaska. (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.

John Cunningham, Republican 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?


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


Should new public employees have access to a pension?


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


Should Juneteenth be a state holiday?


Open-ended questions

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

By the traditional formula

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

For other districts to take on an equal share of the multi unit housing being developed so heavily in our district.

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

Ban it entirely with rare exception.

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

Incentivize beginner and advanced firearm safety and handling training in the form of state subsidies or financial assistance. The last major incident we had at the 5th ave mall was stopped short by a pizza delivery guy from palmer. We need more people like him, not less.

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

A state Legislator should be able to compromise their preferences without compromising their values. While you cannot and should not legislate morality, the whole person concept is at play here. Everyone has faith in something, and that faith plays a part in how they do anything.

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

Level pay scales. Administration and teachers are on the same pay scale and retirement/benefits. Work on ways to incentivize measurable results of learning and student achievement that can financially benefit educators. Incentivize parental involvement and start having standards for students to meet BEFORE they get to high school.

What does an ideal state ferry system look like?

has the state ever run a ferry system that stayed in business? I imagine we could start by looking into successfully run ferry systems and take the eclectic approach? We might find a private enterprise might do a little better.

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

Get rid of RCV. Retain the “in person” voting mode. Periodic 3rd party full audit at random intervals to ensure full compliance. Like we do with everything else in modern society.

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?

Our international neighbors has been over fishing for decades just outside our territorial waters. Regrettably, that may be more in the
purview of the Federal Government. Our Alaskan Delegation would be best suited to handle this, and our House and Senate in Juneau could start the conversation for sure.

What constitutional amendments, if any, do you support?

None at this time.

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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].