Alaska in Brief

Q&A with Alaska Senate District L candidate Clayton Trotter

By: - July 28, 2022 12:15 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.

Clayton Trotter, Republican candidate from Eagle River

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?

Since Governor Walker and the legislature did not follow the law, the Permanent Fund should be set by a formula established by Constitutional Amendment.

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

A better business environment is the greatest need because of Inflation, rising prices, supply chain problems, shortages both of workers and materials mostly caused by oppressive government regulation and labor laws.

Eliminating property taxes, cutting back bureaucracy, and having common sense laws. “That government governs best that governs least.”

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

There is now no Federal Constitutional right to an abortion. Roe is no more. Abortion is now a State issue. The Alaska Supreme Court has found a right to abortion in the privacy provision of the Alaska Constitution based on Roe v Wade, but the Alaska Constitution specifically gives the duty and responsibility to the Legislature to determine the ambit of the privacy right in section 22. The legislature now must take up the issue. Having represented thousands of women injured by abortion and a grad student who is alive without ever being in her mother’s womb, I believe the barbaric act of abortion should not be included in the right to privacy. At a minimum, the State should no longer pay for abortions or use tax dollars for something a large portion of our state feels is taking of an innocent life.

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

The threat of gun violence will always exist since outlaws can always obtain weapons. Mass shootings could be reduced by placing armed guards at the entrances to “gun free zones” where criminals know they can do great damage. Mass shootings rarely occur in police stations.

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

Everyone has a religion or philosophy which informs their view of law and policy. Whether one is a Christian, Jew, Muslim, Atheist, Buddhist, Communist, Socialist, Republican or Democrat. In a free pluralistic society with a marketplace of ideas all may advance policies which seem wise to them. What would be surprising is to find someone that had no such “guiding principals” of life. Ultimately, truth, reason and evidence should determine law and policy.

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

Maintain competitive salaries. So often public institutions will pay market to attract an employee, but not pay market to keep them. UAA professors have received only a 1% pay raise in the last 5 years…but lawyers in Juneau received 8% this year alone. As a UAA professor, I’ve seen professors leaving in droves because of this.

What does an ideal state ferry system look like?

A ferry system like the airlines – with docking facilities and ports run by the state and ferries run by private competing companies.

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

Voter ID, paper ballots and hand counting like France. One must identify oneself to cash a check, likewise to vote. Electronic ballots and counting are perceived to be subject to manipulation. Hacking is rampant in computer systems. A “paper trail” is needed.

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?

Regarding the causes, I would need to read the Governor’s task force report coming out in November. In the meantime would be willing to continue to send salmon to regions impacted and additional hatcheries in the region. The Governor has sent tons of salmon to the region this summer.

What constitutional amendments, if any, do you support?

  • As a law professor and attorney, I would support an amendment revamping the way judges are selected. Putting the Alaska Bar, a organization with clients and cases before the Court that will be impacted by the Court , in charge of creating the pool that the Governor selects from is not a Republican form of government (3 of 6 are attorneys plus the Supreme Court Justice always gives them a majority.) It’s kind of like the proverbial fox in charge of the henhouse, If we do not elect the judges, the Alaska Judicial Counsel (which selects the candidates) should be elected.
  • A balanced budget amendment.
  • A personhood amendment that life begins at conception.
  • A permanent fund dividend amendment to secure the dividend to the citizens of Alaska.

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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].