Dale Wunderlich, Republican

Wunderlich: Control of state spending priority

Posted: Monday, August 14, 2000

Happy Valley resident Dale Wunderlich considers himself a conservative, one who believes less government is better government and that government is too much in control of citizens' lives today.

He said he is appalled by Homer's effort to annex surrounding territory and, if elected to the State House, will vote for a resolution saying "no" to that annexation.

He said he believes the public process has been violated, and that residents clearly are opposed to annexation. He also said he is the only candidate who has joined picketers in front of city hall.

Wunderlich said state government spending is "out of control" and government is not responding to the wishes of voters. Control-ling that spending is the most important issue facing the state, he said.

"We are at a crossroads," he said. While rebounding oil prices will help in the short term, in the long term the state needs to look at other solutions -- including, perhaps, privatization of prisons and the railroad, he said.

Wunderlich, 42, has lived in Alaska since 1984 and on the Kenai Peninsula for the past 10 years. He owns a courier service. He is married and has three children.

Name: Dale Wunderlich

Office for which you are running: House Seat 7

Age: 42

Occupation: Self-employed courier service

Family: wife Michelle and 3 sons, Tyler, Ryan and Cory

Education: High School, St. Maries, Idaho

Organizations and Special Interests: Avid Hunter and Fisherman

Expected cost of your campaign: Total estimated cost $7,000.

What is the best way for voters to reach you? 854-0818 or


While he has not held elected office before, Wunderlich believes his political activism gives him the experience necessary to represent District 7. His activism includes lobbying as early as 1993 on behalf of the health of the Kenai Peninsula forests that were being ravaged by the spruce beetle, and last year's effort against use of the permanent fund.

Voters will come to recognize that "I am following the wishes of the people," he said when asked what sets him apart from his opponents.

"I want them to know that I'm an honest man," he said. "I will go down and do as I am told as their representative."

Too many elected officials make decisions not in the best interest of Alaska, often because of commitments to large contributors to their campaigns, he said.

Being an effective lawmaker means listening to the people who put him in office, the people for whom he works, Wunderlich said. If confronted with a conflict between the wishes of his constituents and his own conscience, he said, he would likely vote with the majority of his constituents. He did acknowledge the majority can be wrong.

That the majority can be right was demonstrated Sept. 14, in his opinion, when voters overwhelmingly rejected the idea of using permanent fund money to fund state government. Alaskans no longer trust their elected officials because of their attempts to tap the fund, he said.

When he knocks on doors, he hears one sentiment repeated again and again, he said -- people want government slashed before considering use of the fund or income and sales taxes. That may mean local governments will have to become more self-sufficient.

"More of the true Alaska entrepreneurial spirit is what we need now," he said.

Wunderlich said he would vote yes on the 10-mill tax cap ballot proposition, though a recent lawsuit challenging the proposition has placed the issue in limbo. He acknowledged that such a cap would have a financial impact on the peninsula.

"I understand that, but I believe the people of our state are saying they want all forms of government to work more within their means," he said.

On education, Wunderlich said, "All figures are showing that we are failing with the education of our children up here in our state." He said the money the state wants to spend to implement its new graduation testing program ought be put to better use, such as teaching the basics in the earliest grades in elementary school. High schools should include a vocational-education component. He gives the K-12 system a C+.

Subsistence is a tough question, he said, and he admitted he doesn't have the answer. The problem, he said, is in the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. That he is now a rural resident and entitled to subsistence, according to the federal regulators, "doesn't make a lot of sense to me," he said. "Not when I can drive to Kmart or Fred Meyer or McDonald's. Rural to me is Kake or even Seldovia. They are remote."

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