Raymond VinZant Sr. said his decision to run for the Alaska Senate District Q seat began as a fish story.
"I noticed there was a real small run of kings," he said. "They were small, like big silvers. I wondered what the Department of Fish and Game was doing with this, so I started doing a lot of research. I found out that pursuant to what the people want, they didn't really care."
The retired machinist, who has lived in Soldotna since 1981, said commercial fishing in Alaska has been on the decline for at least four years, but the response of government has been inadequate.
"Then I started thinking about all the things that have gone wrong in government," he said, adding that he grew "contemptuous" of lawmakers ignoring constituents who traveled to Juneau to speak with them.
He wants to see the capital moved from Juneau, though he'd accept a move of the Legislature for now, he said.
"At least then there would be enough people there to recognize the fact that they (lawmakers) ignore the voters," he said.
He suggested converting buildings at the Alaska State Fairgrounds in Palmer for the purpose.
If elected, he would try to reduce waste in government, he said. Among the projects he said amounted to a waste of money was a 10-bed youth detention center under construction in Kenai. Approximately $232,500 for design and $4.6 million for construction has been appropriated to the project.
VinZant said he'd rather see a facility more like Boys Town outside Omaha, Neb., where youth can spend their time farming.
He also said he thought the Department of Community and Economic Development wasted money.
"I don't know why this big conglomerate is inside the government, and they are not doing anything for the people," he said.
VinZant said his opponent, incumbent Sen. Jerry Ward, has not spent time in the community as he has.
"You can't have your fingers on the pulse beat of a community if you are not here sitting in the coffee shops, going to these assembly meetings and community meetings and listening to what these people have to say about what's going on in the world," he said.
VinZant said he believes in the Republican Party platform's call for stronger families and less government.
He said the death penalty should be "a last alternative," but also doesn't believe in coddling prisoners convicted of crimes. He said he opposes providing gyms and playgrounds, for which he'd substitute " a big rock in the middle of the yard and let them break it into little pieces to work off the energy."
He wants more effort put into creating jobs for graduating high school seniors.
VinZant has never held public office. He has attended Kenai Peninsula College where he took a variety of courses including computers, photography, management, accounting, welding, government, history, political science and art. He served in the U.S. Navy in the early 1950s.
He and his wife, Violet, have had 17 children.
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