Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce holds latest candidate forum

Published: Oct. 20, 2020 at 4:02 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - On October 20th, the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce held its latest in a series of forums giving candidates an opportunity to field questions from chamber members, community members and each other.

Present at this forum were candidates from the races for Alaska Senate seat B, Marna Sanford and Robert Myers, and for State Legislature District 4, Keith Kurber and incumbent Grier Hopkins.

The Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) proved a prominent issue, with Sanford and Myers disagreeing on whether the formula for determining the PFD should be changed.

Sanford explained, “The current statutory formula hasn’t been followed in four years, which means that our current legislators know that it is no longer working for us, and that means we need to take it head on and fix it.”

Myers countered, “All you have to do is go back to the 1999 advisory vote, when 83 percent of the state said to leave the Permanent Fund Dividend alone. The state should be leaving it alone. When was the last time you saw 83 percent of the state agree with anything?”

Hopkins and Kurber also provided their thoughts on the PFD’s place in the state’s budget.

Kurber said, “I am for the statutory PFD until such time as it is changed. As a former law enforcement officer in the state of Alaska, I was obligated to enforce the law that the legislature had put into place. It seems reasonable that lawmakers follow that law as well.”

Hopkins said, “I do not believe that we should cut the budget simply to provide a larger Permanent Fund Dividend. I believe we should make sure that we can fit it into our priorities, whether it’s the university, public safety, or K-12.”

The Chamber of Commerce will hold an additional forum on October 27th, featuring candidates from the races for U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate.

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