Primary Profile: Mary E. (Beth) Wythe
Mary E. “Beth” Wythe has served as both a Homer City Council member and, most recently, as Homer mayor. Her second term ends in October. Wythe is one of two challengers to Rep. Paul Seaton for the House District 31 seat. She says she’s running because she is frustrated with Seaton’s representation.
Mary “Beth” Wythe’s voice is familiar to people in Homer, who have heard her over the KBBI airwaves during regular broadcasts of city council meetings. Wythe has served as Homer’s mayor for two terms. Before that, she served on Homer City Council for eight years. Wythe says she’s running because she is frustrated with District 31 Rep. Paul Seaton.
“The current representative has taken the habit of representing his views through, as opposed to necessarily focusing on what the council is asking or needing, that’s a little frustrating,” Wythe said.
The 56-year-old grew up in Oregon and Washington state and moved to Alaska in 1973. Wythe has worked at Homer Electric Association for almost 30 years. She has a master’s of public administration and a bachelor’s of business administration from the University of Alaska Southeast.
Wythe says she would make cutting the permanent fund dividend and implementing taxes a last resort.
“I think that before we approach citizens for additional contribution to managing or funding the state, we need to make sure that we have done everything that we can to look at services that are provided, expenses the state incurs and determine that they are at the appropriate levels,” Wythe said.
If revenues go up, taxes should go down, she says. And generally she is not a fan of state sales or property taxes.
“I feel like sales tax and property tax are the revenue sources for local expenses and the state should have a different access to taxation than sales tax and property tax,” Wythe said.
Wythe says that oil and gas tax credit reforms are necessary to balance the state’s budget, but not an across-the-board cut.
She says she does believe in climate change. At a recent public candidate forum, she said she believes that development of renewable energy is important but financially challenging.
Wythe said she is pro-life and supports maintaining women’s health services independent of Planned Parenthood. She says she would support defunding Planned Parenthood. In addition, Wythe said she does not support the state’s new commercial marijuana industry because she believes marijuana is a gateway drug.
Wythe says if she’s elected, she would try to move the Legislature toward a more collaborative approach.
“When I moved to Alaska, Alaska was self-sustaining because the people that lived in our area worked together to make sure everybody could be successful and could survive, and I think we are getting back to a place where we are going to have to become reliant on one another again,” Wythe said.
For more information on Wythe, visit her Facebook page. The Alaska primary election is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 16.