Saving the Alaska Permanent Fund dividend is the top priority of District 8 Republican candidate Carolyn Reynolds.
Road improvements, flood mitigation and the like all take a back seat to the dividend.
"Those are secondary factors to the dividend," said Reynolds, who hopes to take over the seat being vacated by retiring Rep. Gary Davis, whose district includes Soldotna and Seward. "There are many issues, but all are secondary."
Not surprisingly, Reynolds is a big fan of dividend crusader Edward Martin Sr., who helped spearhead the opposition to the balanced budget plan put to the vote last year.
"I'm in defense of the permanent fund and I'm in defense of Ed Martin Sr. and the stand he took," she said. "I am very much a part of that movement."
Reynolds' second platform plank is reducing what she calls government bloat.
"The obsessive-compulsive spending habits of politicians warrants discipline and great efforts in restraint and leadership," she said in a prepared statement.
Reynolds, a 45-year-old Mackey Lake resident, said she homesteaded in Willow with her parents. She never has held elective office before but said she learned politics by working with her father, whom she described as being involved with the Republican Party.
Currently, Reynolds teaches children to ride horses through her company, Reynolda Ranch, but has had a varied business career.
"I have diversified business experience," she said. "I grew up in the restaurant business and have had my own advertising agency and worked as a commercial artist."
Despite the opposition she faces in the Republican primary election, Reynolds does not expect to spend a lot of money on her campaign.
"I don't think it's necessary. I don't think Alaskans are motivated by money. I think most are motivated by ethical standards and sincerity," she said. "Most Alaskans know who I am."
A number of other Republicans will be on the ballot in the District 8 primary. They include Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly member Grace Merkes of Sterling, Soldotna Mayor Ken Lancaster and Larry L. Smith of Cooper Landing. Borough assembly member Pete Sprague, a Democrat, also has thrown his hat into the ring. The filing deadline is June 1.
Reynolds had no comment on her competitors.
"What they are stands on its own. It's separate from me, and I'm separate from them," she said. I don't want to make negative comments toward someone else. I want to focus on issues; that's what's important to me."
More responsiveness from legislators also is important to Reynolds.
"What I'd like to see changed is I would like to see the average Alaskan have a faster and more effective way to tell the legislators what their concerns are," she said. "I would suggest it could be done by using coupons in the newspaper and have drop boxes that the politicians have to pick up."
She said in the wake of the permanent fund vote there has to be something more effective than the current system.
"Politicians were not responsive to POMs (Public Opinion Messages through the Legislative Information Office), so (Martin) had to go on the road to show the politicians how serious Alaskans were," she said. "I am not a politician, rather, the antidote."
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