Jed Whittaker

Green Party write-in

Anchorage

Q: The federal deficit has increased each year since 2016, according to government data, after declining from the high in response to the 2008-09 Great Recession. The government last had a surplus in 2001. Beginning in 2016, increases in spending on Social Security, health care, and interest on the federal debt have outpaced the growth of federal revenue, according to the government’s tracking website. What do you propose for reducing the deficit?

A: Peace is the answer and solution to reducing the federal deficit. The United States military consumes 53% of the federal budget and is very wasteful. America cannot and should not be the policeman of the world. The military has bases in 132 countries, and many of those bases should be closed. America at peace, not war, is a stronger America. Thank you.

Q: Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with President Trump’s COVID-19 response? Explain

A: The president of the United States of America is the commander in chief. In my opinion, the commander in chief should tell all the generals that their new mission is contact tracing. The good men and women serving in the military could save American lives if the president was competent. President Trump is not competent. He is not saving lives.

Q: Explain your view on climate change. Is it a problem and what, if anything, should Congress do to address the issue?

A: 70 words is insufficient to address climate change, but I will try. Climate change is real. Climate change is negatively impacting the people and environment of Alaska. I support the “Green New Deal,” but it is only the first step of many steps. Legislation is needed to protect the Bering Sea, the Arctic Ocean, and the North Pacific. Thank you, and I hope I passed the audition.

Q: President Trump has made clear he wants to repeal the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Act. Do you support DACA or do you share President Trump’s desire to eliminate the “Dreamers” program? Explain. 

A: I was born in Eugene, Oregon. I am an immigrant to Alaska. Immigration made America great. America is better and more humane when America welcomes immigrants. The ideals set forth in the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights are better achieved when immigrants are welcomed like the First peoples of Alaska welcomed me. Thank you, elders. Thank you very much.

Q: The Supreme Court recently ruled that the 1964 Civil Rights Act’s protections against sex discrimination in the workplace protects LGBTQ individuals against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Do you agree with this ruling? Explain.

A: I agree with the ruling of the Supreme Court, although I think the basis of the ruling should have been found in the United States Constitution, not the 1964 Civil Rights Act. However, as a two-spirit person and as a human being and as an American, I am pleased with the result of the ruling.

Q: In the wake of George Floyd’s death at the end of May, large-scale reforms in law enforcement and policing are being called for across the country. What changes, if any, would you like to see? Does Congress have a role in the subject?

A: I would like to see transparency and accountability established in all jurisdictions with the use of civilian review boards that govern police behavior. Additionally applicants for police jobs should be treated equally, with no special preference given to applicants who have served in the military. I believe that because so many police are former military service members that there is a tendency by the police to look at citizens and see enemy combatants.

Q: Nearly one-third of the Interior rural communities represented by Tanana Chiefs Conference have no running water village-wide. This is the case for many rural villages across the state. What steps would you take to improve village sanitation?  

A: The 228 federally recognized tribes and the best conduct for federal funding to provide running water and sewage treatment. Although I am not a civil engineer, wells and infrastructure built for environmental conditions such as permafrost is not rocket science. Therefore, I will work to build support with 50 other senators, minimum, to pass legislation funding these projects. I think Tanana Chiefs Conference has the skill set to build and manage these projects.

Q: While drilling projects in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska are moving forward, Alaska is seeing a drop in oil company activity in the state. What, if anything, should Congress do to incentivize oil development in Alaska?

A: Entities, like former governor Steve Cowper and British Petroleum, know that climate change is real. BP is not transitioning away from oil to renewable energy. Tesla, with electric cars, has captured the world’s attention to pollution-free and sustainable energy usage. North to the Future, the saying goes. So Alaska must lead the way to alternative energy sources and usage. Recognition of the implications of an ice-free Northwest Passage is a huge factor.

Q: Alaska faces some of the worst rates of sexual assault and domestic violence in the country, particularly in the state’s Indigenous population. What, if anything, should Congress do to address the issues of sexual assault, domestic violence and missing and murdered Indigenous women? 

A: I do not know what Congress can do to prevent sexual assault and domestic violence, but there must be something Congress can do. I would listen to and seek council from Alaskan men and women who have been working to prevent violence against women. Federal funding for women’s shelters is just one thing I can think of, but, again, positive action that is repeated, repeatedly. Sounds silly, but it works.

Q: Do you support the Affordable Care Act or do you think the program should be repealed? If you support repealing it, what, if anything, should replace it?

A: The Affordable Care Act should be repealed and replaced with single-payer universal health care. The for-profit health care industry is too expensive, is draining the treasury and makes America weaker. A healthy America is a stronger America. Every American should have health care — single-payer universal health care. Amen.

Q: The percentage of Alaska’s total population that is age 65 and older is increasing. The Social Security trust fund is projected to be depleted in 2035 because the cost of providing benefits has been exceeding income. Without any change, the depletion would lead to a reduction in benefits to match the income. What is your suggested solution, if any?

A: A tax on the sale of stocks and bonds, simplification of the IRS code, and raising the threshold on income (collecting Social Security tax on all earned income) will prevent any reduction in social security benefits.

Q: The University of Alaska has one of the smallest federal land grants among public universities in the 50 states. For a variety of reasons it has never received all of the land it is supposed to have received, thereby limiting the amount of money it can raise through land ownership. Several attempts in Congress to provide additional land have failed since the mid-1990s. What will you do about this?

A: If Ted Stevens, Frank Murkowski, Lisa Murkowski, Dan Sullivan and the dean of the House, Don Young, have failed to get the federal government to sign over to the University of Alaska promised land, perhaps a new approach might work better. Where is Moses when you need him?

Q: More Russian military activity near Alaska Air Defense Zones and U.S. waters has recently been reported than is typical. Does this concern you? What, if anything, should the U.S. do in response? Explain.

A: Putin is a smart man and Russians are proud people. Putin is testing the waters… Making Russia Great Again… MRGA. MRGA. MRGA. However, Putin is not as smart as he thinks he is. America and Russia were great friends during World War II and will be great friends again in the future. Peace.

Q: Would you support the free distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine to all U.S. residents? How would this be paid for? Explain.

A: I support the free distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine to all U.S. residents, because if all Americans are dead, there is no America. There is no free lunch. Americans, still alive, would work and pay taxes to pay for it. Whatever happened to the can-do attitude of guys like Gov. Wally Hickel? We can do it. Believe.

Q: In what ways, if any, should the country decrease reliance on oil and gas in favor of more renewable sources of energy? Explain.

A: The energy from the sun is free. Utilization of free energy is key to a bright (no pun intended) future for America. Investing in scientific research yields enormous returns. Free energy might be also utilized from gravity, nuclear fusion, and other phenomena that are above my scientific pay grade. The most valuable resource America has is the human resource. Invest in Americans.

Q: The Trump administration recently announced a plan to open the full 1.65 million-acre coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas leasing, sparking a series of lawsuits from environmental protection groups and the Gwich’in Nation over alleged violations of Indigenous land rights. Do you feel the Gwich’in people should have been directly consulted by the Bureau of Land Management on this issue? Explain.

A: The Arctic National Wildlife refuge should not be opened to oil and gas leasing. President Trump has exceeded his authority. I stand in solidarity with the Gwich'in Nation, and, if elected, will work to preserve the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Congress must keep the president in check. Trump is president, not king, as in King Trump.