A political newcomer is vying for the House seat in Anchorage’s district 15, which contains Muldoon and Elmendorf. Retired Army Colonel Laurie Hummel, a Democrat, is challenging Republican Gabrielle LeDoux, who has served in the legislature representing first Kodiak and now district 15. KSKA spoke with Hummel about her campaign. LeDoux did not respond to requests for an interview.
Laurie Hummel’s calm, measured speech is peppered with expressions like, “It felt like I was pushing a wet noodle uphill each and every day.”
She was describing trying to integrate women into the Afghan military academy.
Hummel says she never planned to run for office after her 34 years in the military. But she says she saw that many politicians were “hiding the football sometimes and not being forthright.”
Hummel says Alaska’s politicians have drained the state’s budget because “we spend money like a drunken sailor. The Legislative Office Building comes to mind as an egregious example of spending the people’s money to feather your own nest. That’s just ridiculous.”
And that’s why she’s running for state house. Hummel says she doesn’t want to be a long-term politician — she’s already had her career that’s included teaching geography at West Point and being commissioned into the military intelligence corps. But she says she wants to see changes to avoid a grim future for the state.
“So good-bye PFDs, hello income taxes,” she states bluntly. “That’s not a place we have to go and we shouldn’t go. We have to get our priorities arranged. We have to spend where we need to spend and no where else.”
Hummel says the spending should be focused on education statewide so that Alaska’s students are prepared to work on projects like the gasline. She says money needs to go back into Muldoon to provide things like parks, sidewalks, and street lighting.
Hummel thinks getting there will take negotiations and compromise, skills she learned when working with international forces on nation building projects and when earning a master’s degree in strategy.
“Throughout my career I’ve had a lot of opportunity to hone my negotiation skills, but also to bring people of differing backgrounds and opinions together. Get them on the same team, and help everybody to look forward to make progress.”
Hummel moved to Alaska for the first time in October of 1996. She lives with her husband in Muldoon.
Her challenger, Gabrielle LeDoux, has been in the state for 36 years. LeDoux did not respond to requests for an interview and declined an invitation to appear on Alaska Public Media’s Running program.