House Primary in District 20 Heats Up
Conservative versus moderate Republican choices
ANCHORAGE - Representative Mia Costello, who is in her first term in the House, is a former aide to Governor Frank Murkowski.
Tamara von Gemmingen, daughter of nine-year assemblywoman and lieutenant governor candidate Fay von Gemmingen, is a saleswoman making her first bid for office.
They agree that Costello is the more conservative candidate.
As with most legislative races this year, oil taxes are at the forefront.
Costello supported Governor Parnell’s failed bill to cut production taxes by up to $2 billion a year.
"I do believe that reducing the taxes on the industry will increase investment and increase through-put, and I do think that increasing through-put is the number one economic issue that the state faces."
Von Gemmingen says tax reductions should be tied to production increases.
"I don't think we should be giving away the farm, necessarily. You know, I don't think it was looked at properly, and I think it could have been written a lot better. And sometimes you have to vote against party lines, and that's OK."
Costello touts a new law she sponsored waiving some corporate taxes for certain technology-driven firms.
"I was able to pass a bill that makes Alaska the most competitive state in the country for certain types of fast-growing businesses."
Conversely, von Gemmingen says the state under-taxes the mining industry.
"There's a lot of mines in the state that we really don't tax or are starting up."
Ideologically, von Gemmingen is to the left of Costello.
Costello said: "I do know that the primary opponent that I’ve attracted is more of a liberal Republican and has liked Obama on her Facebook page. But essentially I focus on my issues that i'm trying to get before voters."
Von Gemmingen said: "I’ve been called an old school Republican. I believe in the Republican values, but I think I'm more of a moderate Republican. And I definitely feel you should be representing the people and getting to know the people and caring about what they want done."
In District 20, primary voters will define what kind of a Republican they want representing them.
In November, the winner faces Michelle Scannell, who does not have an opponent in the Democratic primary election.