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Comparing the Senate District O candidates

Posted: August 16, 2012 - 8:47am

Last legislative session, our governor proposed an annual $2,000,000,000 tax break (for 10 years, with no strings attached!) for the companies that extract our oil and gas resources from the ground. Thanks to the work of moderate Republicans and Democrats in the Senate Bipartisan Coalition the give-away failed. A compromise plan was rejected by the governor. Now we are just weeks away from an election that may well determine the economic future of the State of Alaska.

There are two candidates in the Senate District O race, both Republican. Senator Tom Wagoner of Kenai has the advantage of incumbency — many years of doing constituent work and handing out our share of the state’s capital project goodies. A challenge he faces is that Homer is suddenly included in his district — still smarting from his attempt to slow the extension of the natural gas line in their direction.

Mayor Peter Micciche of Soldotna has the advantage of name recognition. He is the official city spokesperson. He has made masterful use of any available free media, and has carefully coordinated his paid personal radio ads with city ads. He has spent years building a portfolio of impressive nonprofit board service, enhanced by dispensing large monetary contributions to deserving groups and projects — from his employer, ConocoPhillips. Most people will have forgotten that he was not on the side of the angels in the long struggle to settle Soldotna’s cemetery into its present location. 

Both men are on record opposing the Senate Bipartisan Coalition. However, many voters view the coalition as a successful moderating influence, in refreshing contrast to the partisan gridlock found in Washington. Senator Wagoner, working with others, was able to pass legislation to encourage increased oil exploration and production in Cook Inlet. And, he sided with the coalition, against the tax give-away. One only need drive through Kenai and toward Nikiski to see that even without “giving away the farm” the industry is moving forward.

Mr. Micciche is smart and charming. He has honed his skills with executive training and support from ConocoPhillips. He has been in a position to distribute hundreds of thousands of dollars to grateful local communities, donated by his company, a global corporation that made millions of dollars a day here last quarter and presents itself as Alaska’s Oil and Gas Company. 

He recently declared his opposition to the governor’s tax break, joining most Alaskans in the view that “a tax reduction needs to be tied to guarantees that ensure production.” Since this is the precise position of the senate coalition, why does he criticize their work? I wish I could trust him, but because of past dealings with him on local issues, I cannot. 

Alaska’s legislature is already comprised of many people who have strong financial ties to the oil industry, as well as a host of former legislators who now lobby on their behalf. Let’s keep Mayor Micciche in Soldotna and reduce the possiblility that Alaska will one day become just another cheap resource colony for the world’s multinational corporations.

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kenaibear2001 08/16/12 - 08:10 pm
Yeah right Peggy

Look around, if it's broke, it needs fixing. If you think Alaska needs fixing, as I and all my friends do, then it's time to send the Yahoo's in Juneau packing. I, my family, neighbors and friends are all behind Mr. Micciche. Last count 56 votes.

Suss 08/16/12 - 09:49 pm
Peggy's Numbers

I will not support Big Oil hiring out their employees to the legislature, they already have the governor. Micciche allowed and used the City of Soldotna to take federal, state and city monies to promote himself on KSRM radio all for what, lost dogs and traffic safety. Please ask why you and your friends would want someone that opposed the private medical facility in Kenai and went along with the very questionable resolution to block a much needed and valuable private entity.

goround 08/17/12 - 01:11 pm
Peggy's Angst

It is really sad to read Peggy Mullen's vitriolic comments and near slander of Mayor Micciche. She cites no reason for not being able to trust him. Is it because he is a male? A republican? A conservative? Probably all of the above, so she has her reasons. The fact that Micciche worked very hard with all sides of the cemetery issue and got a cemetery built is a feather in his hat and all those people that worked on it, including Peggy, deserve praise. Too bad Peggy can't trust him, I do and I am voting for Peter 8/28.

Allen 08/20/12 - 05:46 pm
Nice try goround.

You must be new to our community goround or you would know that Peggy Mullen served with Peter Micciche on the Soldotna City Council and therefore knows his political views and actions very well. Her comments were not "vitriolic" as you claim but were moderate considering all the negatives she could have said. Your story about the Soldotna cemetery tries to reinvent history. There had to be a historic turnover on the Soldotna City Council - several candidates who ran AGAINST Micciche's position on the cemetery and won putting him in the minority - in order to get the cemetery issue settled.

spybot 08/21/12 - 09:34 am
And the pipeline continues to decline

And the amount of oil in the pipeline continues to decline.

As Rome burns, people fiddle.

Let's all cheer when the pipeline is shut down, and the state gets 100% of zero production.

Then let's all [filtered word] at the big bad wolves who led Big Oil in Alaska.

The $300 billion in tax revenues that ran the state for years is all tainted.

Let's rip up all that horrible infrastructure funded through the oil taxes: the schools, the roads, the buildings, the energy grids, the ports - all from tainted money.

Let's get back to the basics, when there was hardly any infrastructure in Alaska.

Then we can be pure as the snow, and shiver in winter.

In a related story, North Dakota has a booming oil and gas economy and is luring away under / unemployed Alaskans for their expanding work force.

But first, breaking news just in: Canada, the evil heartland of oil, gas, and mining corporations, is the first country in the world to surpass the United States in per capita earnings.

While Rome burns, let's all fiddle and have a party. Yee Haw!

akresident 08/23/12 - 10:35 am
comparing candidates

Well, having a lifelong oil company employee and manager elected to the state senate is both impractical and unethical. He should ethically recuse himself from most meaningful votes because of these ties as many votes will effect the oil industry in one way or another and his employment creates inherent bias in his voting. If he does not recuse himself because of his employment then he is not ethical or honorable. The fact that he is publically commenting on a bill that would have added billions of dollars to an industry that employs him is a prime example. And yes, using all the available PSAs to promote your political aspirations is blatantly obvious and excessive.

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