Q&A with Sandra M. Katelnikoff-Lester, nonpartisan candidate for Alaska State House District 32

The Cordova Times gave these Alaska State House District 32 candidates the same five questions

Sandra M. Katelnikoff-Lester


1. What would you do legislatively to keep the Alaska Marine Highway System fully funded to keep its routes on schedule and the ferries well maintained as the state does for its road systems?

The Alaska Marine Highway System should be fully funded as all other highway systems in Alaska from state and federal funds. I see this highway system as important to us as is any other highway and it’s a system that should be maintained. I support maintenance of its budget and would encourage the development of additional funding sources. I will work hard to keep this highway open because I realize the importance of this mode of travel in Alaska.

2. What more should the state be doing to help young harvesters get a stake hold in commercial fisheries, with training in business management and affordable loans?

Young harvesters in fisheries are coming upon a golden opportunity in the near future. As our local or current captains age there will be additional opportunity for the young to become involved. I think we should develop programs that will give the young information through mentorship programs, school programs, and maybe even fund work experience programs. I believe education is a key element but work experience is best over time. I would look into finding ways to work more with grants and scholarships than loans.

3. What opportunities do you see for increased renewable energy projects to help slow climate change and benefit the economy?

As all people strive for zero net greenhouse gas emissions in all communities we look for local and obvious innovations to deploy that will fit every individual community. Solar energy, wind farms, wave energy, river energy, and hydro dams are all different means of providing electricity and should be harnessed according to what is available in any community. We are on the cusp of finding available resources that we had no idea existed 10 years ago and we should make use of all of them.

4. The PFD dividend was slashed this year to help the state balance its budget, with the burden falling on individual Alaskans. Would you support an increased sharing of this burden by the oil and gas industry, and how so?

Yes I would support an increased sharing of this burden by the oil and gas industry. Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate with the oil and gas industry in a way that benefits the Alaska people. I support the increase to the PFD savings account thru funding from the development of all natural resources. Oil and gas gave us a great start now instead of depending on oil and gas resources as the only source of PFD revenue we should think of using all natural resources to add supplemental income to the PFD in order to generate larger PFD payouts.

5. Substance abuse continues to be a huge problem in Alaska. What more needs to be done to end this crisis?

Substance abuse is a very personal situation. It would be important to look at the problem from an individual basis. Treatments are helpful but if the person does not find the underlying or driving force to their behavior treatment may be a temporary fix.  A person cannot place blame on another person for what they choose to put into their body. For some people the use of chemicals is necessary help create normal brain function. For some people the uses of chemicals to alter their brain is a form of rest and relaxation and for others the use of chemicals becomes a habit after prolonged use.  It is best that we treat the person as an individual for the individual’s problem that exists. Usually behavior modification is what I see that works best for individuals. I would definitely support additional funds for individual treatment programs, social support programs, and most importantly detox programs.