Sometimes during redistricting, when new lines are drawn, incumbents end up running against each other. This time around, it happened in two senate races and three house races across the state. That’s the case with Democrat Peter Petersen and Republican Lance Pruitt in Anchorage’s House District 25.
Redistricting has cast two incumbent legislators back into the ring against each other. Democrat Pete Petersen and Republican Lance Pruitt are facing off in the new House District 25. The new district consists of parts of the east Anchorage neighborhoods of Muldoon, Cheney Lake and Stuckagain Heights as well as Scenic Park and Chugach Foothills. Petersen says he’s running for re-election because he wants to keep working on the issues that are important to people of East Anchorage.
“You need a representative who puts your needs first. I’m working hard every day to make sure that East Anchorage has a strong voice in the legislature. I know that high gas prices have been hurting Alaskan families and businesses so I’ve been leading the fight to ban gas price gauging. It’s our oil so we shouldn’t be getting gauged. On the house energy committee I’ve worked with experts from across the state to craft an energy policy that would lower energy costs and create jobs for Alaskans. I’ve also fought hard for road and school projects in Anchorage over the last few years,” Petersen said.
Petersen is semi-retired and, since 2008, he has devoted his time mainly to the work of a state representative. Petersen grew up in Iowa he has a bachelor’s degree in political science and business administration. He came to Alaska in 1981, he says, to help a friend mine a gold claim. Then he opened his own pizza and sandwich delivery business, which he operated for 15 years. He says being a small-business owner prepared him for dealing with things like budgets and negotiations, which he often tackles in Juneau.
Republican Lance Pruitt was born and raised in Anchorage. Since 2010, he has been the representative for East Anchorage’s House District 21. He has a B.A. in history and is the general manager of Sears Logistics, the transportation arm of Sears, and the owner of a small business Good 4 You Vending, which operates healthy vending machines in Anchorage. He got his start in politics by working on the Scenic Foothills Community Council. He says he’s running because of his children.
“I want to make sure that they’ve got a great future. I’m running because I want to make sure that we’re doing the right things now for their future. In the last couple years I’ve been able to move forward both legislation as certain things like road projects, that I know people in East Anchorage have asked me for. Whether it was banning substances that were currently legal and making them illegal so that our kids would be safe, whether it’s making sure that our teacher have what they need, that’s why I’m running,” Pruitt said.
Both candidates say education is a priority. Pruitt supports using public money to pay for charter, private and religious schools and supports a constitutional amendment to allow a voucher program. Petersen does not. He says public dollars should go to public education. On healthcare, both say the state needs to figure out how to make healthcare more affordable and accessible. Pruitt supports debt relief for doctor’s who go out of state for a medical education and return to practice medicine. Petersen supports the development of a medical school in Anchorage. Petersen does not favor Governor Sean Parnell’s oil tax legislation and he voted against it.
“When oil companies demanded a $2 billion a year give away with no strings attached, I stood up for Alaska and I voted no. My opponent voted for the giveaway. This election is about the future of Alaska and whether our destiny will be determined by Alaskans or by outside special interests,” Petersen said.
Petersen says he supports an oil tax compromise which links new production with tax reduction. Pruitt likes the Governor’s plan and voted for HB110. He says he’s the better choice because:
“You have someone here who has grown up in your area, who listens to what you have to say — who doesn’t have to read everything that’s coming off, who doesn’t have to listen to other people on where he’s gonna move forward. You’ve got someone who’s listening to you, someone who understands the details of where we live, of where we’ve come from,” Pruitt said.
Both says a gas line is a priority, but they disagree on how it should happen. Pruitt supported HB9, legislation to build a smaller pipeline. Petersen says he supports building a bigger one. Both support renewable energy development for Southcentral Alaska. Petersen likes geothermal. Pruitt says he’s behind the Susitna-Watana dam.
Petersen raised around $95,000 total for his campaign. Pruitt raised just under $120,000 for his.