Photo feature: Declaring her rights

Posted: Monday, December 15, 2008

Jim Kauffman

Photo By M. Scott Moon
Photo By M. Scott Moon
River City Academy student Phellisha Dobson gives her presentation on children's rights during the school's celebration of 60 years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights last week. Students and staff gathered with friends and family to give their presentations at the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly chambers.

Age: 51

Occupation: Steel building construction superintendent

Family: Wife, Lois; children, Jeremy, Trevor, Marisa, Alex, Kara and Erika

Education: Octorara High School, Pennsylvania; Lancaster Bible College, certificate

Previously held elected office and experience: none

Contact info: e-mail at

1. Where do you stand on the proposed Pebble Mine project, and what do you see as the impact of the success or failure of Proposition 4, the clean water initiative?

Proposition 4 is unnecessary and should be voted down. The Pebble Mine project needs to meet present laws concerning clean water. The government should stop the project if it endangers the environment in any way. Too much emphasis by Republican legislators today is on maximum benefit for the state instead of reasonable profits and reasonable development plans. We must manage resources for the public interest not the state's interest.

If you don't trust the legislature, elect new people; don't pass an unneeded restrictive proposition that places new unforeseen restriction on our own people and our resource development. If doing it right means less profit then so be it.

2. The state is enjoying record revenues from high oil prices. Providing prices don't tumble drastically and revenues remain at lofty levels, how would you like to see surplus monies applied?

Oil prices are likely to remain high given the world demand for oil, but we should not spend as if it will always be that way. The portion of money we spend should be in the areas of infrastructure development not more state boards and state employees. We should fund energy projects and an in-state natural gas pipeline that bring energy relief as well as jobs across Alaska.

Can we find a way to build Alaska based industries by assisting in funding them so we don't have to rely on foreign countries or lower 48 companies to come here? I believe we can.

3. Lawmakers must consider a long-term energy policy for the state, and any solution is likely to include conventional and alternative energy generation proposals. Name your top priorities and how the state should pay for them.

Homer Electric Association and Anchorage MP&L are each planning on building new gas-fired turbines for electric. These small plans that lack cooperation between the co-ops will not lead to lower long-term energy for the people, since they rely on fossil fuels.

The legislature should invest heavily in shared energy projects that serve the co-ops across the state. Leaders in our member owned co-ops can do it, not politicians.

A public/private venture established and funded by the legislature can solve the many issues around the state concerning energy. We should look to the people of Alaska, not the Department of Energy, to work together to solve energy prices. The first thermal energy plant was built in Italy in 1904, certainly by now we should know how to tap our thermal energy sources. The Susitna Hydro Dam should be built and if the co-ops work together, they can do it.

4. The Alaska Legislature just completed its first 90-day regular session, a limit imposed by the voters. Yet, it took two costly special sessions to complete critical work. What do you think lawmakers should do differently during regular sessions to avoid multiple special sessions in the future?

Having never been in the legislature before, I am not able to give a good answer to this question. I don't know if the proposition that established a 90-day session intended to create extra sessions, but it probably was an unintended consequence.

Regardless, I can't imagine wanting to stay in Juneau longer than 90 days when I would much prefer to finish and go home to my family!

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