House District 21 candidates blur some party lines but not others

Two candidates are running for Democrat-turned-Republican Lindsey Holmes former seat in West Anchorage’s House District 21. And like their predecessor, some of their views blur typical party lines. 

Matt Claman is a Democrat. And like many Democrats, he supports same-sex marriage.

“Well, I have been a long supporter of equal rights, and some people say that I actually took a lot of heat when I was acting mayor for supporting equal rights in our community,” he said during Alaska Public Media’s Running.

His opponent, Republican Anand Dubey, also supports marriage equality, despite it being against his party’s platform.

Matt Claman (D) is a candidate for House District 21. (Photo by Josh Edge, APRN - Anchorage)
Matt Claman (D) is a candidate for House District 21. (Photo by Josh Edge, APRN – Anchorage)

“Let me just put it this way, I’m against discrimination in all forms,” he said in a phone interview when asked to clarify his positions.

Dubey also strays from his party line on the issue of abortion–sometimes. Dubey has made many different statements about abortion. In response to two different conservative group surveys, he and his campaign identify him as pro-life. After making confusing statements on the issue during Running, he was quick to agree with Claman’s position.

“I will continue to support a woman’s privacy, and health care privacy, and want to do everything I can to keep politicians out of the private relationship between a woman and her doctors,” Claman said on the program.

“And so would I,” jumped in Dubey.

When asked to clarify his position, Dubey said he opposes all types of non-natural death because he was raised with Hindu values. However, he said he does not think the state should be regulating abortion.

The two opponents also agree on the importance of involving their constituents in the legislative process and making decisions based on their opinions.

The differences between the two men start to show when discussing budget matters. One major issue is funding the public schools. Claman promises to try to inflation-proof the Base Student Allocation, a position supported by groups like Great Alaska Schools. Claman said the legislature needs to take a local approach by supporting local school boards.

“The school boards around the state are some of the organizations that we elect that are best able to know the best needs of that district,” he said.

But Dubey said focusing on the BSA oversimplifies the issue. He said he wants to revamp the way school budgets are made.

Anand Dubey (R) is a candidate for House District 21. (Photo by Josh Edge, APRN - Anchorage)
Anand Dubey (R) is a candidate for House District 21. (Photo by Josh Edge, APRN – Anchorage)

“I don’t need anybody’s help, I just need time. I need to be given data and if I get elected, I’ll sit down single-handedly and then show you how to do it. Much like any chartered account and or any business expert would do. And we’ll go through it and we’ll figure out, ‘ok, where do we need money?'” he said.

Dubey argued that all of the state’s budgets can be reduced by eliminating redundant services. He said the state’s medical costs would be lower if there was more competition in the marketplace.

“So the bottom line is this: as a legislator I don’t believe in creating additional laws to circumvent a problem. I believe in maybe deregulating it to see if more competition in the market could solve the problem. So that would be my idea.”

Claman said health care costs are rising around the nation, not just in Alaska. He said solving the problem locally requires more efficient systems and for the state to accept federal Medicaid money.

Neither candidate has served in the state’s legislature before. Claman works as an attorney and is a former Anchorage assembly member. Dubey runs his own IT company and has degrees in engineering and business.