Election 2012: Democratic Representative Berta Gardner v. Republican School Board Member Don Smith for Senate District H
Two politicians aiming for a new arena
ANCHORAGE - There’s an open Senate seat in Midtown, and the winner could determine whether the bipartisan coalition survives.
Republican Don Smith says his Senate campaign is all about the money.
"I'm father of the tax cap. I’ve fought on the school board to try to hold things down. I think I’ve demonstrated to people that I'm concerned in that area. So I think people have a very definite choice in Midtown Anchorage."
Democratic Representative Berta Gardner has been known to vote against the state budget.
"But I think in the last few years one benefit of high state spending is that it has helped us create jobs, it has been used for things like focusing on increasing our use of renewable energy, which down the road will benefit Alaskans dramatically."
On the great oil tax debate of the past two years, both candidates say they want some changes but don't want to give away the farm to the North Slope producers.
Gardner said: "I think it requires that people sort of be willing to be somewhat flexible around the edges and understand that nobody's going to get everything they want. And we have to negotiate with each other."
Smith said: “They've got to really prove that to me that there's an inequitable arrangement going on right now. I suspect it is. I’ve looked at the charts, and we're right at the very top in terms of states or countries that take a big chunk of the oil revenue in the form of taxation."
Of the senate's bipartisan coalition, Smith is emphatic about the future: “It’s going away.”
But Gardner says Alaskans want cooperation. "I think there is broad support across Alaska for coalitions."
Midtown voters could have a say in whether the current one survives.
To view the full unedited interview with Berta Gardner, click here.
To view the full unedited interview with Don Smith, click here.