Incumbent Sen. Jerry Ward, R-Anchorage, said he is running for re-election because voters need a senator who understands that legislators work for the people.
That view affected his work "when it came time to oppose bureaucrats when they wanted to reach into the permanent fund and take more money. We were successful in stopping them," he said, referring to the failed ballot proposition asking voters whether some earnings from the Alaska Permanent Fund should help fund government.
He said he wants voters to remember that he works for them.
"And I understand that it's their money, and they are members of this country, and all public servants, including me, work for them," he said.
The 52-year-old Ward, who runs a real estate agency with his wife, Margaret, served in the House from 1982 to 1984 and has served in the Senate since 1996. He said he has strived to make government smaller, and he helped pass Rep. Vic Kohring's bill to combine the Department of Commerce and Economic Development with the Department of Community and Regional Affairs.
He also sponsored the bill that created a task force to determine where privatizing government services might save money. That led to privatization of several hydroelectric projects in Southeast Alaska and of efforts to collect child support payments, he said.
"There were well over 200 recommendations, and we haven't implemented all of them yet," he said. "It's an ongoing process."
Ward said he sponsored the bill that authorized bonds for the present $200 million upgrade of Anchorage International Airport. He expects increasing traffic at Anchorage International to create the need for a new airport in Kenai to serve as a freight hub.
He said he has lobbied with Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Dale Bagley to bring a North Slope natural gas pipeline to Nikiski.
"I also played as much of a role as I could to make sure we had a cooperative and energized community to have a gas-to-liquids plant, and that's on the way," he said, referring to the plant BP Amoco plans in Nikiski.
He said his experience qualifies him for the Senate.
"Probably the greatest qualification I have is that I am a citizen legislator," he said.
Ward said the biggest issue facing Alaska is developing natural resources.
"We have a mentality where we're completely surviving off oil," he said. "To let the beetles kill millions of acres and to see our fisheries destroyed because of politics is ridiculous. We need to get mining, fishing and timber back on an even keel with oil. The only way we're going to do that is to overrule an administration that's controlled by extreme environmentalists."
He cited his father as a reference.
"I see signs from other politicians that say, 'Honest,' 'Integrity,' but that guy has really got it," Jack Ward said of his son. "When he gives you his word on something, you can really depend on it. He doesn't take the popular position on everything. He does what he thinks is right."
Ward is serious about being good, his father said.
"He said his prayers every night as a little boy, and he still does," said the elder Ward.
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