David Schaff

1.    What critical roles do you see UAA playing in the state in the next two years?

A vibrant economy cannot live by cuts alone.  Nor can the people thrive by clinging to the coat tails of industry.  Yes, there is a wealth in Alaska’s resources:  We drill for oil, mine for minerals and on good days catch a run of fish and trap nets full of crabs.  

As dominant as the industries are who develop these resources – especially the oil and gas industries’ royalties and taxes accounting for 80% to 90% of the Alaska State budget -- we must not ignore the wealth that resides in the talents and skills possessed by our population:  Tradespeople construct our buildings, keep our lights on and transport food for our tables.  Professional employees advance sound, science-based management and conservation methods to ensure the future supply of our food and devise new ways to develop our resources.  We have attorneys that tend to the wheels of government and doctors and nurses that tend to our physical health and mental wellbeing.  But what makes all our wealth possible – what makes it possible for all those trades and professions to exist are our teachers, schools (whether K-12 or apprenticeships), professors, and universities. 

Without teachers to provide the lessons, we cannot learn what we need to know to keep the machinery of our community operating.  Without professors we cannot devise new ways to advance our knowledge of our environment or understand the direction we are headed with all our advances or explain how the interrelationships of all these diverse workers support and define our community.   The loss of our community, however, is threatened by the budget cuts the present Administration proposes and has enacted.

Cuts in the finances for any one of these trades or occupations risks a disruption of the coherence and stability of the whole community.  But cuts to our sources of knowledge and its applications increases the depth of the loss. 

Like any organism, our community develops by growing, not shrinking.  When we grow, we look beyond what we have so we can see where we want to be.  To see the future of our community means we reinvest in that future. The resulting achievements – the return on our investment -- can then be put toward further growth.  Cuts will preclude any such return.

Cuts to the finances for teachers and universities will only result in a loss of the talent and skills needed to keep our community vibrant and the loss of research facilities will only result in a lost attraction for new and diverse industries to locate here.  By cutting benefits and pensions, we lose teachers and others to the lower 48 and by losing the teachers, we lose the institutional knowledge and history needed to keep our community self-sufficient. When we lose our teachers and professors, we lose the students who would have been trained to eventually replace the current employment base.  Cutting finances to the body politic is like the loss of one’s personality to dementia. Like dementia, the loss of knowledge from our universities will leave our community deteriorated and if not stopped, eventually to the point where we will no longer recognize ourselves or it. 

Prosperity can only become a reality through sufficient funding of our teachers, professors and established research programs. 

The Purposes for the State’s funding should not be confused with that of corporations.  Although oil and gas industries have advanced to the point where their profits are made through the installation of automation that allows for the reduction of the number of jobs that that industry once offered, the contributions made by teachers and professors cannot be automated. Thus, unlike the oil and gas industries’ production with less jobs, we cannot reduce the number of teachers and professors without losing the fruits of their labor.  This means that we can no longer risk our own futures, let alone that of the community’s by clinging to the coat tails of the oil and gas industry through mimicry of its operations.  That industry can eliminate jobs and still make a profit.  We cannot eliminate personnel and continue to have a successful community.  We cannot afford to cut education.  

We must not forget that new industries will need workers which the universities can supply, while automation of the oil and gas industry devolves employment into a choice between buyouts or layoffs. 

My economic platform is based on a model of development through rational reinvestment in our community.  I reject the present administration’s economic plan to cuts cost to “balance the budget.” That economic model rests on a false analogy that equates government spending to a home checkbook.  If we insist on spending only what we have available rather than what we can have access to, (e.g., the Fed’s reserves made available to the State via a State Bank that provides loans for large and small businesses), the result is the austerity presently experienced by the general public while the communities’ wealth is transferred to the already wealthy residing in the private sector. 

 2.   How do you see UAA serving the constituents in your district?

A large portion of the constituents in my district are or have been employed by the oil and gas industry.  The university provides the means by which those individuals can transition to developing new talents and skills for the new jobs.  The university also offers courses for retirees so that they can continue to develop their talents and remain effective members of the community. 

 3.   This year, the University received a modest budget increase after more than five years of severe cuts to operating funds. What do you see as the appropriate path forward related to the University budget and processes?

Businesses use automation to improve their profits.  However, teachers and professors are in many ways not subject to being automated, neither are the state’s schools and universities in the business of make a profit.  Investing in the university may seem to require more spending, but in the long run, the return is reflected in the quality of its students as they enter the work force.  Although the expense will be higher, businesses are the recipients of the State’s investment made to our schools and universities.  As the relevant industries profit from State investment, they should provide their fair share of the expense through taxation to help defray the costs of education born by the community through the State legislature’s funding.

 4.   UAA has a growing need to properly maintain its facilities for housing and classrooms, and for its research, engineering, health, technical, and sports programs.   What is your position on capital funding for facilities maintenance at UAA?

Professors need workers to build the buildings they teach in, to heat those buildings, to print and write the books they use, to supply the chalk and every other item of use in teaching, including the maintenance of all that is produced for their use.  Cutting maintenance expenses breaks that cycle of production and will eventually lead to the deterioration of everything useful.  Maintenance cannot be separated from the teaching process.  Indeed, maintenance is essential to the teaching process.

 
Caroline Storm

1. What critical roles do you see UAA playing in the state in the next two years?

The state is facing an overwhelming workforce shortage across all fields and at varying skill levels in the next two years. UAA is a critical institution for educating individuals seeking to change their career or to ensure they are qualified for certain positions. UAA has two programs that can stem the huge labor shortages in two particular fields: Nursing and Aviation. UAA could attract students from in and outside the state for training in these specific programs and continue to provide opportunities for "on-the-job" training to help both the student and employer.

UAA continues to be a source of expertise for improving governance and the lives of Alaskans, which perhaps is the most critical. UAA faculty and staff provide research and guidance to Municipal and State leadership ensuring that decisions are evidence-based and considerate of the incredible diversity in our Alaskan communities.

2. How do you see UAA serving the constituents in your district?

UAA should be the first choice for anyone in Anchorage seeking higher education. The nursing program specifically has been the first choice for a few of my constituents seeking to change careers and has provided a lucrative and effective local option for a career change. HD 10 is fairly affluent, and so I see UAA serving more of a mature student body in the district as people seek career change opportunities.

3.    This year, the University received a modest budget increase after more than five years of severe cuts to operating funds. What do you see as the appropriate path forward related to the University budget and processes?

The University budget must be increased again to mitigate some of the detrimental cuts from the last several budget cycles. In the shorter term, additional physical consolidation of some programs may be required to lower operational costs. Since my neighbor is Page Brannon, Head of Instruction and Research services with the Consortium Library, I have heard about the significant impact the cuts have had on staff. It's not acceptable that many staff have had to take on significant additional workload to keep certain departments running.

4.    UAA has a growing need to properly maintain its facilities for housing and classrooms, and for its research, engineering, health, technical, and sports programs. What is your position on capital funding for facilities maintenance at UAA?

My first concern is deferred maintenance. We cannot continue to ignore the compounding problem of delaying routine maintenance as it costs so much more when issues become a crisis. Capital funding must be released to upgrade and renovate older buildings, as well as expand existing buildings (where feasible) to create state of the art facilities for research and learning.

 
Walter Featherly

1.    What critical roles do you see UAA playing in the state in the next two years?
a. Providing excellent education and training opportunities for Alaskans and, ideally, students from outside of Alaska, to graduate high-functioning citizens and well-trained workers for Anchorage and Alaska;
b. Taking fullest advantage of federal research and other grant funding opportunities available to Alaska;
c. Contributing to the economy of Alaska and to Anchorage with good-paying direct jobs and many indirect jobs and small business support;
d. Contributing to the quality of life in Anchorage by attracting and retaining residents, especially families and working-age adults;
e. Serving as an incubator/generator for entrepreneurialism in Anchorage and Alaska.
2.    How do you see UAA serving the constituents in your district?
a. Post-secondary education opportunities that are competitive with schools outside of Alaska – both in quality of education/training offerings as well as costs
b. Good paying jobs;
c. Experiences (educational, cultural, sport, and business-support) that enrich lives, families and businesses;
3.     This year, the University received a modest budget increase after more than five years of severe cuts to operating funds. What do you see as the appropriate path forward related to the University budget and processes?
a. The severe cuts to the University’s operating budgets were financially detrimental (the benefits lost were far greater than the costs saved) and short-sighted (the lost opportunity costs for diversifying our future economy far outweighed the budget reductions in each fiscal year);
b. The results (loss of population, loss of working-age adults, lack of diversification in the economy, etc.) of the austerity approach to Alaska’s fiscal matters plainly make the case that a new approach – one that looks to investing in education and infrastructure – is needed.
4.    UAA has a growing need to properly maintain its facilities for housing and classrooms, and for its research, engineering, health, technical, and sports programs. What is your position on capital funding for facilities maintenance at UAA?
a. Alaska’s state capital budget has been shrunk to almost nothing. In addition to direct state funding, the State should be supplementing its capital budget with the issuance of General Obligation bonds as a means to finance projects that, in the future, will result in increases in economic activity that are more than sufficient to service the bonds.

 
Alyse Galvin

1.    What critical roles do you see UAA playing in the state in the next two years?
I want to see the start of a re-building effort at the University of Alaska. The University should be a catalyst for Alaska’s economy, pumping out skilled labor and professionals, serving as a breeding ground of research and innovation, and attracting new industries and businesses to Alaska. Let’s start that in the next two years!
As with each of these responses, I could go on and on, but I am interested in learning more from your organization about how I can help re-build the university system.
2.    How do you see UAA serving the constituents in your district?
I want to see the start of a re-building effort at the University of Alaska.
My district borders the U-Med district and is the home of many UAA students and faculty as well as many businesses that rely on and serve the UAA community. A vibrant UAA is critical to my district.
3.    This year, the University received a modest budget increase after more than five years of severe cuts to operating funds. What do you see as the appropriate path forward related to the University budget and processes?
I want to see the start of a re-building effort at the University of Alaska. That includes increasing state funding of the university to begin to re-establish programs, attract new students, and grow the faculty and support staff.
4.    UAA has a growing need to properly maintain its facilities for housing and classrooms, and for its research, engineering, health, technical, and sports programs. What is your position on capital funding for facilities maintenance at UAA?
Once again, I want to see the start of a re-building effort at the University of Alaska. That includes deferred maintenance of the existing facilities at the various campuses and building new facilities.

 
Denny Wells

1. What critical roles do you see UAA playing in the state in the next two years?
   As Alaska struggles with workforce shortages, I believe that the University of Alaska will continue to play a critical role in growing and preparing Alaska’s workforce. From the medical programs in nursing, dental hygiene, and the MEDEX PA program, to technical fields like the AVTech program, to engineering and journalism, UAA is engaged in training professionals in fields Alaska needs.
2.    How do you see UAA serving the constituents in your district?
   As I’ve been knocking doors in my district, I’ve chatted with many families who would love to see their children seeking higher education close to home, but instead they are seeking opportunities elsewhere in locales where the educational opportunities are expanding and the economy is growing. I’ve also chatted with young people who are struggling to make ends meet while working and trying to complete degree programs close to home. I’ve chatted with teachers (and prospective teachers) who are having to go elsewhere or study online to get the requisite qualifications for their field. The state needs to invest in its universities, and our universities need to offer affordable programs, close to home, in useful fields to give young people the opportunity to advance with their degrees and to give the economy the professional workforce we need for the future.
3.    This year, the University received a modest budget increase after more than five years of severe cuts to operating funds. What do you see as the appropriate path forward related to the University budget and processes?
   The enormous cuts to our University funding in recent years have been tragic and phenomenally short sighted, and the modest increase this year did little to mitigate those effects. The programs that have been cut and the high quality academic talent we have lost represent a huge loss to our community and to the future or our economy. I am committed to approaching the budget process with education as a top priority. I’m running because I believe future generations should be afforded the same level of opportunities I was when I received my phenomenal education from the University of Alaska. I’m happy that the influx of federal dollars allowed the state to expand this year’s budget, but I believe that the state needs to establish a sustainable fiscal plan and begin funding our education systems, from pre-K through the Universities, in a more predictable manner.
4.    UAA has a growing need to properly maintain its facilities for housing and classrooms, and for its research, engineering, health, technical, and sports programs. What is your position on capital funding for facilities maintenance at UAA?
   Capital funding and funding for deferred maintenance have been woefully lacking statewide for years, and UAA is no exception. Investments in maintenance, as it is needed, may be expensive in a current budget cycle, but are almost always a cost savings in the long run. Deferring maintenance and neglecting our facilities is just passing excess costs on to future generations. We should be maintaining state assets now, and assuring that we have facilities ready for the future, statewide generally and at our Universities in particular.

 
Lyn Franks

1.     What critical roles do you see UAA playing in the state in the next two years? 
The pandemic will ultimately seem like child’s play now that we are turning our attention back to the catastrophic repercussions of a rapidly changing climate. The fact that the climate research program at UAF has been defunded is unconscionable. UAF has been providing cutting edge research which is being used by experts worldwide. If elected, I will make funding this program a priority.

Our stellar nursing program has been an asset to the state. Critical healthcare programs must be sufficiently funded for student retention. These programs are essential for a healthy Alaska.
2.  How do you see UAA serving the constituents in your district?
UAA has made major cuts to the education program, technical schools, the humanities and the arts, as well as funding for staff and adjuncts. These cuts hurt more than just the constituents in House District 18. It also hurts our economy and our ability to retain both students and teachers. 
UAA continues to provide sports programs that the people of Anchorage enjoy.
3.  This year, the University received a modest budget increase after more than five years of severe cuts to operating funds. What do you see as the appropriate path forward related to the University budget and processes?
My goals are to fully fund and forward plan fiscally for the needs of the university. We can only do this if we can capture badly needed funding. We also need to develop a fair-share budget that ensures UAA will have the funds available to be a cutting-edge institution again.
4.   UAA has a growing need to properly maintain its facilities for housing and classrooms, and for its research, engineering, health, technical, and sports programs.   What is your position on capital funding for facilities maintenance at UAA? 
Capital funding has to be a priority. The buildings throughout the University system need repair and the technology needs upgrading. I know this first-hand from my time in the classrooms. 

 
 
Andrew Gray

1.     What critical roles do you see UAA playing in the state in the next two years?
   UAA is the heart of Anchorage. It is the hub of intellectual life in our state’s largest city and keeping UAA well-funded so that it cannot only continue its offerings to students and the public but expand them over the next two years is essential.
2.    How do you see UAA serving the constituents in your district?
   UAA is in my district (House District 20), so many of my constituents attend UAA as students or work there as employees. Over the past few years I have watched neighbors’ jobs get eliminated due to budget cuts, and, heartbreakingly, some of them have left the state. I want UAA to continue to be the important center of life that it is for District 20. I want it to continue to host important cultural events (such as the recent Constitutional Convention debate) and sporting events, but more importantly, I want it to continue to provide top quality education by employing the best and brightest that Anchorage has to offer.
3.    This year, the University received a modest budget increase after more than five years of severe cuts to operating funds. What do you see as the appropriate path forward related to the University budget and processes?
   The University of Alaska is the crown jewel of higher education in Alaska. Without the UA system, our people must travel to the lower 48 for good quality higher education. It is essential that as many programs as possible are offered to Alaskans, and to do so we must adequately fund our university system. We must expand the budget for the UA system, and to UAA in particular.
4.    UAA has a growing need to properly maintain its facilities for housing and classrooms, and for its research, engineering, health, technical, and sports programs. What is your position on capital funding for facilities maintenance at UAA?
   My position is that the State must adequately fund the maintenance of facilities for housing and classrooms and that to do so the capital funding for that maintenance at UAA must be expanded.

Ted Eischeid

1.    What critical roles do you see UAA playing in the state in the next two years?

I believe UAA has a critical role in building Alaska in a variety of ways. UAA should seek to meet the needs of Alaskans, both for our future work force and to keep Alaskans in Alaska. We know that Alaskans who stay in Alaska for their education stay in Alaska. UAA should work diligently towards that goal. Secondly, I would hope UAA market itself to outsiders to draw them here for their education. The more we keep Alaskans here, and attract outsiders, the better off we all will be.
2.  How do you see UAA serving the constituents in your district?

My NE Anchorage residents are hurting. We need UAA programs that meet their needs. That means offering an education that is practical, affordable, and Alaska centered. I want UAA to “build Alaska.”

3.  This year, the University received a modest budget increase after more than five years of severe cuts to operating funds. What do you see as the appropriate path forward related to the University budget and processes?

I am an education candidate. I support the “fundamentals”, with education be my top priority. I believe UAA has been forced to suffer through draconian cuts. I am opposed to this. I want UAA to be responsive, but I also want UAA to receive adequate funding. Let’s use this experience of cuts to chart a path forward that can see increased UAA responsiveness and increased funding. Our joint survival depends on this.

4.   UAA has a growing need to properly maintain its facilities for housing and classrooms, and for its research, engineering, health, technical, and sports programs.   What is your position on capital funding for facilities maintenance at UAA? 

I am a strong supporter of capital funding. My first priority is deferred maintenance. Second, is growth as long as it is done strategically. Until the SOF comes upon with a sustainable fiscal plan, we need to be prudent.

As a recipient of higher education I both appreciate and support UAA. Let’s keep talking, and lets build better. Finally, let’s give our staff a fair contract!!! Thank you.