Kodiak Daily Mirror - Bill Walker returns to Kodiak talking energy and local hire
  
Bill Walker returns to Kodiak, talking energy and local hire
by Peter J Mladineo
May 30, 2014 | 150 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bill Walker
Bill Walker
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One of the Kodiak Electric Association’s biggest fans might be Bill Walker, independent candidate for governor.

Walker boasts Kodiak Island Borough’s reliance on renewables for power generation around the state and its ability to use those efficiencies to lower energy costs.

“I brag about Kodiak around the state because you’re down to two percent diesel because of your hydro and your wind generation… So you have done a great job in getting off of diesel fuel. Kodiak is a great, shining example of that,” he told the Mirror.

Walker was in town for CrabFest, took part in the parade, talked to more than a few locals, and was quite impressed with the earthquake preparedness booth and simulator.

“I’m glad to see that there’s earthquake preparedness and awareness in Kodiak here at Kodiak and at CrabFest. I was in Valdez during the ’64 earthquake. So I understand earthquakes and I understand how devastating they can be,” he said.

Walker, a Republican, switched to independent for this election to avoid running in a primary against an incumbent Governor Sean Parnell.

He targets what he feels is below-par fiscal performance for the governor.

“We borrow $7 million a day from our accounts, and I say from our kids’ and our grandkids’ future, because that’s where that money would go if we weren’t using it today. We’re in a big deficit situation,” Walker said.

He claims that Alaska is not “opening up and developing our resources as we should for the revenue base that we need.”

Case in point: oil.

“I’m pro-oil, but I’m pro-Alaska. The problem we have right now is I don’t think we have anybody on our side of the table because we have an oil lobbyist as our governor,” he added.

He believes all the Alaska constitution should dictate how Alaskan resources are used.

“The constitution talks about resources should be developed as maximum benefit to the people,” he said.

He thinks the state constitution should also be used as a go-to guide for fishing decisions as well.

“I’ve recognized that the constitution is clear on what we do with fisheries. We’re supposed to sustain yield, grow the fishery, grow the return and sometimes we get tangled up with fighting over who gets the last fish versus growing the industry and the return,” said Walker.

Another issue that he advocates is hiring locals only to sit on Alaskan boards and commissions.

Case in point — Parnell’s recent hiring of Californian oil executive Dennis Mandell to sit on the State Assessment Review Board, which sets the tax value for oil-industry property.

This he claims involved too much legal wrangling for him.

“I’m very passionate about local hire, very passionate about people. Our boards and commissions in our state should be filled with people that live in Alaska. Nothing against people in California and Texas, but I don’t think they need to sit on our boards and commissions,” Walker said.

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