A House District 30 candidate wants a chance to return to the Legislature for the same reason he served the first time — to protect the permanent fund. Kelly Wolf is facing three other Republican candidates in the primary to represent the central Kenai Peninsula. The Alaska primary election is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 16.
Of all the options to address Alaska’s financial crisis, tapping the Alaska Permanent Fund should not be one of the answers, says District 30 candidate Kelly Wolf.
“Some elected officials in government think that the permanent fund is actually a rainy day account. I beg to differ. It was set up to divide the resources that were given — the mineral rights were given to the state by the people — and to divide those mineral rights up amongst the people equally,” Wolf said.
The permanent fund dividend for qualifying Alaskans will be $1,000 this year, making some of the fund’s interest earnings available to help close the state budget gap. Wolf says that’s a poor use of that money. He estimates Kenai Peninsula residents will lose over $50 million from this year’s cap on dividends.
State spending should be reigned in before money is taken from citizens, either from the permanent fund or in the form of taxes.
“I believe the state has a spending problem. Yes, I do understand that we have a revenue problem, but before we can address the revenue we, or before we even should. We need to find cuts in government. There’s what I call a bloated upper management. We have redundant processes in every state agency. Every state agency also has reserve accounts,” Wolf said.
Wolf thinks a natural gas pipeline from the North Slope to Nikiski would be an economic boon for the peninsula, but thinks the current administration is not helping the project.
“Get the governor out of it. I think that the business world can do a whole bunch better about managing a project than government can,” Wolf said.
Wolf served on the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly for three years, ending last year, and represented the Kenai Peninsula in the Legislature from 2003 to 2004. He says he’s not afraid to make hard decisions.
“Too many politicians have more fun saying, ‘yes’ than it is to say, ‘no.’ And it is more fun. I’ve got four kids. I know it’s a whole bunch more fun to be saying, ‘yes.’ But the fact is is sometimes we have to be adults and say, ‘No, we can’t afford that,’” Wolf said.
If elected, Wolf’s priorities would be cutting state government and protecting the permanent fund.
“The next five years are going to be very, very difficult for the state of Alaska. I’ve got broad shoulders. I’m not afraid to carry the load and I’m not afraid to fight. And that’s what it’s going to require,” Wolf said.
More information on Wolf can be found on the Votesmart and Ballotpedia websites.