Longtime Kodiak Senator, Gary Stevens, is a good guy. He and his wife Rita are pillars of Alaska and among The Beautiful People. This writer met both Stevens’ when working as a legislative aide on the 4th floor of the Alaska Capitol during the 2018 Session of the Alaska Legislature.
On one occasion, when getting information about education funding for my boss from Sen. Stevens’ able staff, I kissed the ring.
He’s a former full professor at the University of Alaska Kodiak, you know, and everybody around him talks in NPR radio voices. I didn’t get a chance to ask Stevens what he thought about poor academic outcomes from our government schools in recent years requiring the UA System to dumb down requirements for incoming students.
That would have been imprudent.
Stevens is one of those who thinks you cannot pay too much for public education. Virtually everything that has occurred in the Alaska Legislature regarding public education over the last 5-10 sessions has been influenced by Stevens–without regard for academic outcomes.
This is called The $oft Bigotry of Low Expectations.
Ignorant people are Easily Fooled into Maintaining Status Quo Politicians in Office
Stevens lives on Kodiak Island–like Juneau accessible only by boat or airplane. So, Alaskans who dislike the circus our Alaska Legislature has become can thank politically inbred professional politicians like Stevens, one of the ringmasters. He is so smart and capable he doesn’t even need to tell constituents what is happening.
Senator Gary Stevens
- Taft High School, Taft, Oregon: 1955 – 1959
- Linfield College, McMinnville, Oregon – B.A.: 1959 – 1963
- University of Oregon – M.F.A.: 1963 – 1965
- University of Oregon – Ph.D.: 1982 – 1984
Business and Professional Positions:
- Professor, University of Alaska: 25 years
- General Manager, Northern Processors: 5 years
- Director, Kodiak Oral History Project
- President, Alaska Historical Society
- Board of Directors, Alaska Humanities Forum
Political and Government Positions:
- Chair, Legislative Council: 2015 – present
- Chair, Advisory Task Force on Higher Education and Career Readiness: 2012 – 2014
- Chair, 100-Year Celebration of the Alaska Legislature: 2012 – 2014
- Senate President: 2009-2013
- Rules Chair: 2008-2009
- Majority Leader: 2005 – 2007
- Rules Committee: 2005 – 2013
- Vice-Chair, Joint Legislative Salmon Industry Task Force: 2003 – 2004
- Community and Regional Affairs Committee: 2003 – 2004
- Labor & Commerce Committee: 2003 – 2004
- Armed Services Joint Committee: 2003 – 2013
- Legislative Council: 2003 – present
- Finance Subcommittees: Community & Economic Development (2003 – 2013); Corrections (2003 – 2013); Natural Resources (2003 – 2004)
- Co-Chair, Special Committee on Fisheries: 2001 – 2002
- Health, Education, & Social Services Committee: 2001 – 2002
- Joint Legislative Salmon Industry Task Force: 2001 – 2002
- Resources Committee: 2001 – 2002
- State Affairs Committee: 2001 – 2002
- Special Committee on Education: 2001 – 2002
- Finance Subcommittees: Chair, Administration (2003); Chair, Natural Resources (2003); Education & Early Development (2001 – 2002); Fish & Game (2001 – 2002); University of Alaska (2001 – 2002)
- Co-Chair, Council on State Governments, International Committee: 2015 – present
- Member, Council on State Governments, Rules Working Group: 2013 – present
- National Chair, Council on State Governments: 2013
- Ex-Officio Member, Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute
- Mayor, Kodiak Island Borough
- Mayor, City of Kodiak
- President, School Board
- Presiding Officer, Borough Assembly
- Board of Directors, Alaska Municipal League
- Alaska Conference of Mayors
- Vice-President, Southwest Alaska Municipal Conference
- Chairman, Kodiak Mayor’s Conference
- Member, Pacific Fisheries Legislative Task Force
- Ex-Officio Member, Alaska Aerospace Development Corporation: 2002
- Host Committee, CSG Conference: 2003
Steven’s 2022 Contributors:2
|Date||First Name||Last/Business Name||Amount||City||State||Occupation||Employer|
|8/9/2022||Tom and Sheila||Barrett||$250.00||Alaska|
|8/7/2022||Natasha and Rudolph||Von Imhof||$500.00||Alaska|
|1/6/2022||Alaskan Republicans Inc||$900.00||Anchorage||Alaska||Political Action Committee||Alaskan Republicans Inc|
|1/4/2022||ASEA/AFSCME LOCAL 62||$1,000.00||Anchorage||Alaska||Political Action Committee||ASEA/AFSCME LOCAL 62|
|6/7/2022||Gary||Stevens||$20,000.00||Kodiak||Alaska||Senator||State of Alaska|
|6/10/2022||Jarred||Brand||$1,000.00||Seattle||Washington||Director||Trident Seafoods Corp|
|6/11/2022||Jeffrey||Welbourn||$500.00||Seattle||Washington||Vice President||Trident Seafoods Corp|
|6/13/2022||Bruce||Hunt||$500.00||North Canton||Ohio||Vice President of Sales||Sonoco|
|6/13/2022||Stephanie||Madsen||$500.00||Juneau||Alaska||Executive Director||At-Sea Processors Association|
|6/13/2022||Tony||Ross||$1,000.00||Maple Valley||Washington||CFO||OBI Seafoods|
|6/14/2022||Chris||Arnim||$250.00||Bainbridge Is||Washington||Vice President||Trident Seafoods Corp|
|6/14/2022||John||Hanrahan||$1,000.00||Bothell||Washington||Executive Vice President||OBI Seafoods|
|6/15/2022||Joseph||Bundrant||$3,000.00||Seattle||Washington||Chief Executive Officer||Trident Seafoods Corp|
|6/15/2022||Kurt||Lindsey||$2,500.00||Anchorage||Alaska||President||Petro Marine Services|
|6/15/2022||Glenn||Merrill||$250.00||Juneau||Alaska||Government Affairs||Glacier Fish Company|
|6/16/2022||Chris||Barrows||$250.00||Springfield||Virginia||President||Pacific Seafood Processors Association|
|6/16/2022||Diane||Bundrant||$3,500.00||Edmonds||Washington||Sr. Executive Assistant||Trident Seafoods Corp|
|6/16/2022||Doug||Gardner||$500.00||Juneau||Alaska||Legislative Staff||State of Alaska|
|6/16/2022||Patrick||McHugh||$1,000.00||Bellevue||Washington||Marine Construction||Western Marine Construction|
|6/16/2022||Stephanie||Moreland||$1,500.00||Seattle||Washington||Vice President||Trident Seafoods Corp|
|6/16/2022||NEA-ALASKA PACE||$1,000.00||Juneau||Alaska||Teacher's Union||NEA-ALASKA|
|6/16/2022||Mark||Palmer||$1,500.00||Fall City||Washington||President||OBI Seafoods|
|6/16/2022||Chris||Plaisance||$250.00||Mill Creek||Washington||Manager||Unisea, Inc|
|6/16/2022||Jerrod||Stafford||$1,000.00||Seattle||Washington||Manager||Western Marine Construction Inc|
|6/19/2022||Rick||Isaacson||$250.00||Seattle||Washington||PWS Operations Manager||Trident Seafoods Corp|
|6/21/2022||Gary||Stevens||$10,000.00||Kodiak||Alaska||Senator||State of Alaska|
|6/28/2022||Employees Political Information Committee||$1,000.00||Juneau||Alaska||Political Action Committee||Alaska Public Employees Association/AFT|
|6/30/2022||Dentists of Alaska Political Action Committee||$1,000.00||Anchorage||Alaska||Political Action Committee||Dentists of Alaska|
|7/6/2022||Thomas||Panamaroff||$250.00||Anchorage||Alaska||Regional and Legislative Affairs Executive||Koniag, Inc|
|7/6/2022||John||Scoblic||$250.00||Ketchikan||Alaska||Regional Manager||Trident Seafoods|
|7/10/2022||Matthew||Moir||$500.00||Kodiak||Alaska||Manager||North Pacific Seafoods, Inc.|
|7/19/2022||CONOCOPHILIPS AK EMPLOYEE PAC||$250.00||Anchorage||Alaska||Political Action Committee||CONOCOPHILLIPS|
|7/22/2022||ASEA/AFSCME LOCAL 52||$1,000.00||Anchorage||Alaska||Political Action Committee||ASEA/AFSCME LOCAL 52 PAC|
|7/25/2022||Corey||Baxter||$100.00||Juneau||Alaska||Operating Engineer||City of Juneau|
|7/25/2022||International Union of Operating Engineers||$1,000.00||Anchorage||Alaska||Political Action Committee||International Union of Operating Engineers|
|7/25/2022||Wayne||Jensen||$500.00||Douglas||Alaska||Architect||Jensen Yorba Wall Architects|
|7/25/2022||Katrina||Matheny||$250.00||Juneau||Alaska||Legislative Staff||State of Alaska|
|7/25/2022||James M.||Stedman||$100.00||Juneau||Alaska||Owner||Alaska Seaplanes|
|7/25/2022||Wayne||Stevens||$75.00||Juneau||Alaska||President||United Way of Southeast Alaska|
|7/25/2022||Maria||Uchyhtil||$100.00||Juneau||Alaska||Non Profit||Health Care|
|7/25/2022||Robert||Veneble||$50.00||Juneau||Alaska||Executive Director||South East Conference|
|8/2/2022||Alaska's Doctors of Optometry||$1,000.00||Anchorage||Alaska||Political Action Committee||Alaska's Doctors of Optometry|
|8/2/2022||Benjamin||Brown||$100.00||Juneau||Alaska||Attorney||CBJ Law Department|
|8/2/2022||Cherie||Curry||$100.00||Anchorage||Alaska||Self Employed||Winfluence Strategies LLC|
|8/2/2022||Kari and John||Ellsworth||$1,000.00||Anchorge||Alaska||Manager||Diamond Center|
|8/2/2022||Audrey||Faulkner||$100.00||Anchorage||Alaska||Self employed||Self employed|
|8/2/2022||Perry||Green||$100.00||Anchorage||Alaska||Furrier||David Green Furs|
|8/2/2022||Jim||Jansen||$456.95||Anchorage||Alaska||Chairman of the Board||Lynden Incorporated|
|8/2/2022||Jim||Jansen||$500.00||Anchorage||Alaska||Chairman of the Board||Lynden Incorporated|
|8/2/2022||Leila||Kimbrell||$50.00||Anchorage||Alaska||Executive Director||Resource Development Council|
|8/2/2022||Tim||Lamkin||$250.00||Juneau||Alaska||Legislative Aide||Alaska State Legislature|
|8/2/2022||Carl||Marrs||$500.00||Anchorge||Alaska||Chief Executive Officer||Old Harbor Native Corporation|
|8/2/2022||Ben and Elizabeth||Stevens||$500.00||Anchorage||Alaska||VP External Affairs||ConocoPhillps Alaska|
|8/2/2022||Rudi||Von Imhof||$456.95||Anchorage||Alaska||President||Delta Leasing|
|8/3/2022||Tom||Klaameyer||$100.00||Eagle River||Alaska||Teacher||NEA Alaska|
|8/4/2022||Doug||Blumer||$250.00||Anchorage||Alaska||Manager||NC Power Systems|
|8/4/2022||Michelle||Egan||$100.00||Anchorage||Alaska||Chief Communications Officer||Alyeska Pipeline|
|8/4/2022||Vasillos||Gialopsos||$100.00||Anchorage||Alaska||Governor's Staff||State of Alaska|
|8/4/2022||Adam||Gibbons||$200.00||Bronxville||New York||Investment Advisor||Latash Investments LLC|
|8/4/2022||Chuck||Kopp||$100.00||Anchorage||Alaska||Commercial Fisherman||Self employed|
|8/4/2022||Sara||Rasmussen||$50.00||Anchorage||Alaska||Residential Appraiser||Self employed|
I am just a working guy, a truck driver who stays up with the news, studies history and current events, and has had a lot of time on the road thinking about what is going on in this state, said Walter Jones over breakfast at Coast Inn at Lake Hood. I know I can represent the people of Senate District C better than they have been represented by this career politician. He’s a professor, but Alaskans like me value meaningful education because it is our ticket to a better life—not just at the University level, where students drown in long-term debt with little to show for, when it is time to get a meaningful job. The people of this district are not being represented and that’s a problem. We just hear crickets from these professional politicians until election time, then it’s “Vote for ME Vote for ME!”
Show me a man that gets rich by being a politician, and I’ll show you a crook.Harry S. Truman, 33rd president of the United States, serving from 1945 to 1953.
I ask: “What did YOU do over the last four years? Why should I vote for YOU again?” Once they get elected their job is to stay in office, continued Jones. That’s why we need term limits. How do you become wealthy being a politician?
I will take a financial hit—over what I am paid to drive the Haul Road—when I am elected, continued Jones. I have had to sacrifice before, and I will do that if the voters want someone who cares about THEIR needs–and reining in our out-of-control state spending.
What does Jones know about Sacrifice?
Jones has covered some hard roads. He believes his Alaskan experience will keep him grounded. He is stepping up because he feels Alaska special interests have for too long determined who gets what in the state budget in Juneau, while suckers who voted for these career politicians are struggling to survive.
Q: What kind of crazy person would try to run against that privilege and entitlement?
A: Walter Jones is that crazy. Here are some of his positions:
Full Permanent Fund Dividend-YES!
Make the Permanent Fund Dividend back into a direct statutory percentage payment formula averaged over five years–as it was originally set to be and worked 40 years–directly paid to individual Alaskans.
The PFD was never intended to be in the budget, said Jones. The money needs to be distributed directly to the people, not siphoned off to the 8500+ nonprofit corporations. Alaskans can CHOOSE to contribute to non-profits they support.
Academic Outcomes in Public Education-YES!
We cannot deny our place at the bottom of the nation in government school academic outcomes. We must have School Choice. Alaskans want their kids to be able to live and succeed anywhere in the world upon graduation, but that’s not happening. It’s shameful and we can directly blame career politicians like Stevens for this.
During high school I also went to trade school. The schedule allowed Vocational Education for part of the time, continued Jones. My instructor was so busted up, but he tossed the books away. He said: “You’re not gonna learn anything from them books. This is a hands-on job.” Every day we went out rain, sunshine, whatever and worked with bricks and mud. Our class also tiled an entire church! Let me tell you, it takes a lot of tile to do that.
Now my son is benefiting from the instruction I received from that busted up mason in High School public education.
Alaskans have allowed status quo professional politicians to control the education agenda too long. They go to Juneau, form Binding Caucuses requiring commitment on support of the budget before the budget is even known, and then dispense money to their special interest friends according to the wishes of NEA-Alaska.
Meaningful skills and academic outcomes don’t matter to these people!
For this reason I fully support the efforts of parents in Nikolaevsk to take back their school, said Jones.
We must have a hand-count of ballots. We did it that way before and we can do it again. We do not need the vulnerabilities of machines in our election process and it shouldn’t take 30-days for results to be known. Current Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyers has been a great disappointment in this regard.
Alaska is viewed as being isolated but It’s a freaking global international hub! Jones said. We are a shipping hub, we have a space launching facility in this district, and we could become food secure if the State of Alaska would quit patronizing us with federal mini-grants and happytalk. We need Commercial Ag land to be food secure. During WWII Alaska had 5,000-6,000 head of beef on 30,000 acres at Kodiak island where today we have less than 500. We need massive greenhouses like Bells Nursery where they grow tomatoes year-round.
Our neighbor in Anchor Point has a few grow-tunnels, said Jones. He grows vegetables for all the restaurants and they all come there every Friday. It’s awesome.
This requires people with the will and imagination to do more than distribute money to the good ol’ boy network.3
The last legislature passed the largest budget in Alaska’s History and passed only ONE BILL addressing food security—HB 294—to form a committee to STUDY the issue and maybe do something. We are dependent on Seattle—where most of our food is trucked to for barge to the Port of Alaska.
Seattle sets the price for food for Alaskans.
Jones is in favor of the State of Alaska providing financial incentives and establishing a mechanism for making Commercial Ag Lands of 10,000+ acre sections available. We need to raise in Alaska the animals we now pay more than $2 Billion/year for the meat we currently ship from Seattle. All across Northern Canada large ag land sections are dedicated to feeding that entire nation.
This has not been given serious consideration because Juneau is fed quite well by Seattle.
Move the Capital-YES!
The argument for not moving the Alaska Capital from Juneau when it was voted on by The People was “access is available through technology.” Only a fool would believe that, as we now know with online learning replacing classroom instruction during the Covid Pandemic. This lie has assured Juneau has undue influence over Alaska political decisions. The estimated $1Billion cost to move the capital to Willow in the early 1980s would have saved many billions lost because we didn’t move it.
Alaskans who convened to write a constitution in Fairbanks in 1955 were primarily Franklin Roosevelt New Deal Democrats. Our constitution is a Progressive document needing a tune-up now after 62-years. Do not be afraid that there might be more crazy Alaskans than those who want our state to be a beacon for the world! Representative Democracy requires us to trust We The People.
The Kenai Peninsula is a world-class sport fishing destination and we should be committed to protecting our stocks for that important publicly-owned resource. That said, we have Alaska commercial fishermen who deserve to be able to harvest fish for our Alaska markets through a policy of managing for abundance. I am not sure that is happening and will work closely with all user groups and individual Alaskan fishers to provide maximum yield for all.
We must be innovative in Alaska. As a truck driver I have studied and thought a lot about our transportation infrastructure.
We have begun to use innovative Rubber Crumbs in asphalt4 to improve durability of our roads in Alaska5, but we need to do more. Crumb Rubber is made from ground-up tires with the metal pulled out, mixed with adhesive to form a flexible road surface. It means better traction in all weather—and reduction of snow. It’s flexible so it moves with frost heaves, and no pot holes. I have driven route 75 around Atlanta, GA which is 8 lanes wide of this material. You won’t find one pothole and It’s super quiet.
For Love of Alaska
My wife, son and I moved into this district in 2016, explained Jones. We previously had a house in Wasilla. After I got laid off from the slope for the 3rd time I was like: “That’s it. I’m done, leaving Alaska.” We lost that house because I just couldn’t get caught up. They wait until you go home to tell you they’re laying you off because they don’t have the guts to tell you to face. When you get that phone call: “Hey, we’re just gonna go ahead and lay you off.” And that’s it.
I had to scurry around trying to find a job.
Meanwhile, the house payment keeps coming in; electric, gas, water. Soon you’re underwater.
I cashed out my 401K account to get all caught back up, but they sold the house out from underneath me, continued Jones. Luckily, it was summertime so we went to Seward thinking there might be jobs there. A good truck driver can get a job anywhere–maybe could haul fish. We just lived in a tent camping there, and when they closed the campground, we moved into the woods.
Next we moved to Hope, and camped there because it was closer to Anchorage, said Jones. When it started getting cold one of the old guys there, a gold miner, let us stay in his dry cabin. It was pretty nice.
In Hope the elderly lady that owned the grocery store had a motorhome that she wasn’t using, said Jones. She sold it to us for cash and I worked my butt off getting it in shape. Now we we’re mobile, we could go anywhere we need to, so we took off for Fairbanks. That wasn’t going to cut it; it’s super cold there, so we went to Homer. Long-story-short, since I am a veteran we ended up at the Ninilchik America Legion.
They had a hookup for water, sewer and power; they said “whatever we need.” Wow. I owe them everything, Jones said. So we stayed there. And started looking for land. We found a place over in Anchor Point and bought two lots there–16 acres. And, rather than go through a bank and house payments to be held under the thumb of a mortgage company again, we decided to build out-of-pocket.
My training as a mason meant I was able to do the foundation and we are living in our own home now, said Jones.
Tried and True Alaskans
This is what I love about Alaska, continued Jones. You can do what you want to do here. Instead of laying down and giving up if you keep putting one foot in front of the other you will reach your goal. My family is in for the long haul. We have a little mini farm, overlooking Kachamak Bay with all the glaciers and the ice field, and St. Augustine volcano.
So your son experienced all of this also?
Yes, absolutely, he was just a little kid, continued Jones. We went through all this while he was in elementary school. He’s a tough kid. And he has been right there with me caring for the animals, laying blocks or pouring concrete for the foundation, anything to help out.
This is why Education is so important, and why it needs regular Alaskans to address it instead of UA Professors who go into politics to feather their nest, continued Jones. When Alaskans graduate from our public education they need to be prepared for life, not at 10th-11th grade after playing High School for three years. The GED is now normed at 12th grade and plenty who graduate from our high schools couldn’t pass the GED without additional instruction.
I am the District C candidate who can think outside of the Juneau bubble, concluded Jones, and I would appreciate your vote.
This writer once interviewed a wealthy businessman who said: “Show me an employee who thinks he is indispensable, and I will show you an employee I am about to fire.” Sen. Stevens has been representing Kodiak and Juneau for a long time and he obviously thinks he is indispensable. The voters of this district need to fire him and bring someone to this office who will appreciate concerns of Regular Alaskans–because he has experienced them himself.
- See Steven’s declared financial status here: https://aws.state.ak.us/ApocReports/Common/View.aspx?ID=25357&ViewType=POFD
- See Steven’s contributors here: https://aws.state.ak.us/ApocReports/CampaignDisclosure/CDIncome.aspx
- The Sorry State of Alaska Agriculture: Kodiak Island Beef Production: https://donnliston.co/2021/03/kodiak-island-area-beef-production/
- Crumb Rubber Asphalt Cost & Analysis https://asphaltplus.com/rubber-asphalt-cost-analysis/
- Ruts-be-gone? Anchorage Daily News, 11/17/09 updated 09/27/16 https://www.adn.com/voices/article/ruts-be-gone/2009/11/18/