Which Side Are You On? Joe Paskvan v. Pete Kelly
Don’t scab for the bosses
Don’t listen to their lies
Poor folks ain’t got a chance
Unless they organize
Which side are you on boys?
Which side are you on?
“Which Side Are You On,” Florence Reece
On November 6, the Alaska voters will have to decide which side they are on in the fight over Governor Sean Parnell’s effort to give $2 billion a year to Big Oil. Which side are you on? WC turns to the Alaska Republican party’s effort to oust Senate Coalition member Joe Paskvan.
Joe Paskvan and Pete Kelly are both life-long Fairbanksans. Paskvan works as a plaintiff’s personal injury lawyer; Kelly works as a lobbyist for the University of Alaska (more on that in a bit). Paskvan has been in the state senate for one term of four years; Kelly was in the state house 1995-1999 and in the state senate 1999-2003. Kelly represented the Badger Road area then; he has since moved to Fairbanks. Ironically, they are both graduates of Monroe High School, not the public schools.
Paskvan was and is a member of the senate coalition. He has asked serious, thoughtful questions about the tax structure on the oil industry. He has sought expertise in an effort to revise the state’s oil and gas tax structure in ways that encourage development. He opposes, as does WC, simply giving money to Big Oil in the hope that Big Oil will deign to put more oil in TAPS. He understands how corporations work, and recognizes that absent a binding, enforceable commitment, tax giveaways will go to shareholder dividends, not increased production. He was one of the leaders in the effort to craft a quid pro quo agreement with Big Oil. Those efforts were blocked when Governor Parnell ended the special session of the Legislature just as it appeared a compromise might be reached. Paskvan is active in many community organizations, including the UAF Face Off Club; Sunrise Rotary; Catholic Bishop of Northern Alaska; North Star Youth Court; Chamber of Commerce; Fairbanks Amateur Hockey Association and is a former member of the Yukon Quest Board of Directors.
Kelly’s earlier service in the Legislature was marked by strident, uncompromising and extreme positions. Fairbanksans may recall that a number of times when the Alaska Supreme Court ruled in a way Kelly disliked, he would respond like a petulant child. After just one term in the state senate, he left, telling AP’s Mike Chambers, “Since I won my first election, I started asking myself how long I can continue the gypsy lifestyle in Juneau.” A cynic might say he quit rather than run against the more popular Gary Wilken. Since then, Kelly has worked as a lobbyist for the University of Alaska. Except that we don’t say “lobbyist,” because it would be unseemly for a state agency to lobby the state government. So University lobbyist Kelly is called “Director of State Relations.” It would also be unseemly for a former state senator to go directly from the state senate to lobbying the state senate. Which probably tells you all you need to know about Kelly’s ethics. Kelly is on record supporting Governor Parnell’s giveaway. Which is reason enough to vote for someone else. But he’s also Pete Kelly, with a proven record of mean-spirited stridency.
Of all of Kelly’s positions, perhaps the statement attributed to him on Pebble Mine is the most disturbing. Asked what the State should do about the proposed Pebble Mine, he said, “Alaska’s permitting process is one of the toughest in the world. We need to work through that process to determine if and how to build that mine.” No less an authority than Rick Halford, President of the state senate when Kelly was a member, has admitted that Alaska’s mining regulation is among the most industry-friendly in the nation. Kelly’s statement isn’t just wrong, it is bizarre.
This one looks dead simple to WC. Kelly acts like a petulant child, supports Parnell’s billion dollar give away and thinks Alaska’s mineral permitting laws are tough. He’s a proto-teabagger, who has already quit once.
Paskvan, by a mile.
This blog post is solely the idea of Wickersham’s Conscience. No funds were expended in creating this post. The opinions expressed are solely those of WC.