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House District 9 Race

By | November 2, 2012 - 5:19 pm

 Both Wasilla residents have a background in public service organizations. Lynn Gattis, a 55 year old mother of two, has served on the Matanuska Susitna Borough school board, and held membership in a variety of local organizations : the Mat Su convention and Visitor’s Bureau, and the Wasilla Chamber of Commerce to name a couple. Gattis is also a private pilot and airplane owner. Blake Merrified, age 40, is the father of one child and cites union membership and small business experience in his background. He once owned a road surfacing business and has volunteered with organizations like the Wasilla Food Pantry and the Easter Seal Society. Both candidates are Alaska-born and raised, but there the similarity ends.

Lynne Gattis comes from a homesteading family, and grew up in the Glennallen area. She’s running for office because she’s in a new district

 ”Having lived in my district for about the last 25 years, not realizing, that redistricting could literally plop a brand new district right in my lap, I looked at it and I thought ‘wow, the things that we cannot do on a local level, that we count on doing on a state level, here’s my opportunity to quit complaining and get out there and do what I’ve asked other people to do’,”  she says.

Gattis and her husband have a commercial airplane leasing business, grow hay for sale and have rental properties in Wasilla and elsewhere. Gattis says she’s in tune with the needs of small businesses. And she says the Valley needs more local jobs, so people don’t have to commute for work. Jobs could come from resource development, she says

“Alaska is a heavy natural resource state, and I’ll tell you, there’s a right way to do it. And I think that Alaska has a history of knowing the right way to do it. We need to. We need to create those jobs. Create the industry and deal with our high energy costs, and, hopefully, we can do it all at the same time, ” she says.

She says her work on the Borough School Board has kept her in touch with the needs of parents and children.

District 9 covers the greater Wasilla area, which has a record of strong Republican support. But Blake Merrifield says with new people moving in, Democrats in the Valley have a chance. Merrifield says most Valley Republicans are running unopposed, which means they don’t have to address the issues. He’s never run for election before, but as the father of a small child, Merrifield is concerned about education.

 

“But the thing that finally did it for me was, about a year and a half ago, there was an article in the local paper about one of the alternative high schools here that said about half the kids were homeless, and I thought it was just ridiculous that none of the legislators were really addressing it “  he says.

Going door to door, Merrifield says voters tell him they’d like to see more support for teachers

 ”Because what’s happening out here is that the class sizes keep increasing. And not only that, I think it was, not this school year but the previous school year, the Mat Su Borough School District went to a seven period day. It used to be a six period day. So what happens is, that just increases the number of students that a teacher is having to focus on. I talked to one teacher and she had two hundred students throughout the day “  Merrifield says

 

Merrifield says the schools and number of teachers is not keeping up with the population growth. Nor are roads and infrastructure. Merrifield points to Knik Goose Bay road, a two lane blacktop now serving a densely populated area.

Gattis too, cites KGB road as the most dangerous she knows, and says she won’t wait years to get it fixed. She’d like more lights on the Glenn Highway, too.

Merrifield, who once worked training Astronauts, says Valley manufacturing could provide more local jobs.

“I’m getting a little tired of Alaska just exporting all it’s raw materials. I’d really like to try and find the right incentives to bring companies in here to manufacture something from them, and take advantage of the fact that we are close to an East Asia market “  Merrifield says.

And as a construction worker, he’s got some ideas on how to get big projects moving. But he’ll stand by the Democratic position on oil tax cuts

“It’s not just politics, this is a business deal. There has to be guarantees on both sides. As a former small business owner, I understand that. Any business owner understands that”   he says.

Gattis has her own ideas on oil taxes.  She says

“Taxes over all can either incentivize or de-incentivize business. And coming from a small business standpoint, but it does relate to the oil taxes. If you over-tax, than you take away the incentive, and business will pivot to another place. If you under-tax, you take away your opportunity to gain money to .. back to the education.. to fill those needs. So I think there is a sweet spot, and I don’t think we’ve found the sweet spot. “

Gattis started her campaign with about 51 thousand dollars, Merrifield with around 22 thousand. Both candidates say: get out and vote on November 6.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Both Wasilla residents have a background in public service organizations. Lynn Gattis, a 55 year old mother of two, has served on the Matanuska Susitna Borough school board, and held membership in a variety of local organizations : the Mat Su convention and Visitor’s Bureau, and the Wasilla Chamber of Commerce to name a couple. Gattis is also a private pilot and airplane owner. Blake Merrified, age 40, is the father of one child and cites union membership and small business experience in his background. He once owned a road surfacing business and has volunteered with organizations like the Wasilla Food Pantry and the Easter Seal Society. Both candidates are Alaska-born and raised, but there the similarity ends.

 

Lynne Gattis comes from a homesteading family, and grew up in the Glennallen area. She’s running for office because she’s in a new district

 

[CutID: <Worktapes> 01gattis 1.wav

Time: 33s

Title: 01gattis 1

Description: 01gattis 1

In-cue: what prompts me

Out-cue: other people to do]

 

“Having lived in my district for about the last 25 years, not realizing, that redistricting could literally plop a brand new district right in my lap, I looked at it and I thought ‘wow, the things that we cannot do on a local level, that we count on doing on a state level, here’s my opportunity to quit complaining and get out there and do what I’ve asked other people to do’. “

 

 

Gattis and her husband have a commercial airplane leasing business, grow hay for sale and have rental properties in Wasilla and elsewhere. Gattis says she’s in tune with the needs of small businesses. And she says the Valley needs more local jobs, so people don’t have to commute for work. Jobs could come from resource development, she says

 

[CutID: <Worktapes> 01gattis 3.wav

Time: 23s

Title: 01gattis 3

Description: 01gattis 3

In-cue: alaska has

Out-cue: same time]

 

“Alaska is a heavy natural resource state, and I’ll tell you, there’s a right way to do it. And I think that Alaska has a history of knowing the right way to do it. We need to. We need to create those jobs. Create the industry and deal with our high energy costs, and, hopefully, we can do it all at the same time. “

 

 

She says her work on the Borough School Board has kept her in touch with the needs of parents and children.

 

District 9 covers the greater Wasilla area, which has a record of strong Republican support. But Blake Merrifield says with new people moving in, Democrats in the Valley have a chance. Merrifield says most Valley Republicans are running unopposed, which means they don’t have to address the issues. He’s never run for election before, but as the father of a small child, Merrifield is concerned about education.

 

[CutID: <Worktapes> 01merrifield 1.wav

Time: 13s

Title: 01merrifield 1

Description: 01merrifield 1

In-cue: but the thing

Out-cue: addressing it]

 

“But the thing that finally did it for me was, about a year and a half ago, there was an article in the local paper about one of the alternative high schools here that said about half the kids were homeless, and I thought it was just ridiculous that none of the legislators were really addressing it. “

 

 

Going door to door, Merrifield says voters tell him they’d like to see more support for teachers

 

[CutID: <Worktapes> 01merrifield 2 teachers .wav

Time: 26s

Title: 01merrifield 2 teachers

Description: 01merrifield 2 teachers

In-cue: because what's

Out-cue: throughout the day]

 

“Because what’s happening out here is that the class sizes keep increasing. And not only that, I think it was, not this school year but the previous school year, the Mat Su Borough School District went to a seven period day. It used to be a six period day. So what happens is, that just increases the number of students that a teacher is having to focus on. I talked to one teacher and she had two hundred students throughout the day. “

 

 

Merrifield says the schools and number of teachers is not keeping up with the population growth. Nor are roads and infrastructure. Merrifield points to Knik Goose Bay road, a two lane blacktop now serving a densely populated area.

Gattis too, cites KGB road as the most dangerous she knows, and says she won’t wait years to get it fixed. She’d like more lights on the Glenn Highway, too.

 

Merrifield, who once worked training Astronauts, says Valley manufacturing could provide more local jobs.

 

[CutID: <Worktapes> 01merrifield 3 jobs.wav

Time: 17s

Title: 01merrifield 3 jobs

Description: 01merrifield 3 jobs

In-cue: that's one thing

Out-cue: asia market]

 

“I’m getting a little tired of Alaska just exporting all it’s raw materials. I’d really like to try and find the right incentives to bring companies in here to manufacture something from them, and take advantage of the fact that we are close to an East Asia market. “

 

And as a construction worker, he’s got some ideas on how to get big projects moving. But he’ll stand by the Democratic position on oil tax cuts

 

[CutID: <Worktapes> 01merrifield 7 oil tax.wav

Time: 8s

Title: 01merrifield 7 oil tax

Description: 01merrifield 7 oil tax

In-cue: this is a business deal

Out-cue: understands that]

 

“It’s not just politics, this is a business deal. There has to be guarantees on both sides. As a former small business owner, I understand that. Any business owner understands that. “

 

 

Gattis has her own ideas on oil taxes

 

[CutID: <Worktapes> 01gattis oil tax use.wav

Time: 32s

Title: 01gattis oil tax use

Description: 01gattis oil tax use

In-cue: taxes overall

Out-cue: sweet spot]

 

“Taxes over all can either incentivize or de-incentivize business. And coming from a small business standpoint, but it does relate to the oil taxes. If you over-tax, than you take away the incentive, and business will pivot to another place. If you under-tax, you take away your opportunity to gain money to .. back to the education.. to fill those needs. So I think there is a sweet spot, and I don’t think we’ve found the sweet spot. “

 

Gattis started her campaign with about 51 thousand dollars, Merrifield with around 22 thousand. Both candidates say: get out and vote on November 6. I’m Ellen Lockyer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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