Republican incumbent Bart LeBon runs for reelection to District 1 of Alaska House of Representatives

Published: Aug. 11, 2020 at 4:17 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Republican incumbent Bart LeBon is running to continue representing District 1 in the Alaska State Legislature.

He said he is running because he feels there’s work left to be done in Juneau. “We have a huge challenge ahead of us as a state. A combination of low price of oil, low throughput on the pipeline, we’ve had the health crisis brought upon by COVID-19, [the] combination of all these events has really changed the outlook for Alaska’s financial situation going into the next budget cycle.

LeBon said the work of the legislature primarily begins with the annual budget process. “Now I’ve had two years’ experience in the legislature and I served on the House Finance Committee during those two years, so I feel I bring not just a lot of wealth of knowledge and experience in my forty-plus year banking career, but also the last two years on House Finance.”

He said we need to reshape our business model as a state. “The old ways will no longer work. When I say the ‘old ways’, [that’s] relying on a throughput in the pipeline of oil that was sufficient at any given price to fund essential state services and a full PFD [Permanent Fund Dividend] -- those two don’t combine to work anymore. There’s some prioritizing decisions that need to be made. What is most important? How do Alaskans feel about essential services as a priority? For example, K-12 education, the university, public safety -- the list is long. And how those needs balance against the wants of the annual PFD distribution?”

LeBon identified his top three essential service priorities as health, education and public safety. He said he has lived in Fairbanks for nearly 50 years, and that he served on the Fairbanks Board of Education for 6 years. “You look at the combined experience, knowledge of the community, top that off with the last two years in House Finance... I think I’m well-positioned to make a meaningful contribution to that discussion here in Juneau this coming session.”

LeBon said that after entering the most recent legislative session with a “pretty solid game plan,” things turned south quickly. “That new condition is not going to change as quickly as it came on. I don’t expect the price of oil’s going to jump up over $65 a barrel any time soon. I don’t expect that the throughput of the pipeline’s going to go back up to 500,000 barrels per day and more any time soon. And I don’t expect that our economy is going to turn around in a major way any time soon.”

“This is a tough time to enter the legislature if you’re brand new,” he said, adding that the changes that need to be addressed in the economy and budgeting “are not temporary. They will be with us for several budget cycles to come. So my sense is the more experience we have in Juneau going into the next session, the better we will all collectively be.”

LeBon is running unopposed on the Republican Primary ballot on August 18th.

Copyright 2020 KTVF. All rights reserved.

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