Kroll: Lifelong Alaskan brings sourdough perspective to race

If the mold got broken making a classic Republican Alaska politician like Jay Hammond or Yule Kilcher, picking up the pieces and gluing them together would result in Henry “Hank” Kroll, running for the Republican Party nomination District 31 House Representative. Kroll, 74, might be campaigning on a shoestring, but he’s got the Alaska street cred nailed.

Consider these sourdough credentials:

• Born in 1944 in Seldovia, graduated 1962 Seldovia High, attended Sheldon Jackson College, University of Alaska;

• Bush pilot, classical pianist and homesteader;

• Resident of Seldovia (1944-68, 1983-96), Halibut Cove (1968-82) and Kasilof (2012-present);

• King crab fisherman 23 years, and;

• Masters license, all oceans.

In an interview last Friday, Kroll stopped by the Homer News on a visit to Homer to put up campaign signs. He’s a second-generation Alaska, born to a rugged father who ran away from home as a boy and was raised by Nez Perce in Oregon. The Nez Pierce gave him a Native name that translates as “Hard Coyote.” His mom was a public health nurse in Seldovia.

“He was famous here in Alaska for capturing three live wolverines,” Kroll said of his father.

According to his July 21 Alaska Public Offices Commission report, Kroll raised nothing and spent nothing. He said last week he spent $300 on signs, including for small posters he put up around time on community bulletin boards like at the Spit restrooms.

Kroll evokes the old Alaska — and President Donald Trump — with his slogan “Make Alaska Great Again.” He talks of days when crab fishermen pulled $1 billion out of lower Cook Inlet. Kroll caught a lot of that in 10 years of fishing off Augustine Island. Once he caught more than 100,000 pounds in three weeks. He blames the decline of crab and shrimp fisheries on chronic oil pollution from Cook Inlet drilling platforms and shipping.

“Pretty soon the plankton blooms are altered,” he said. “We couldn’t figure out what was happening to us. We weren’t that bright.”

Why run?

“I don’t like the way we’re heading. If you’ve got starving children in the street and your governor is stealing their food — and Jay Hammond said it would be such to steal your dividend. I agree with him,” Kroll said. “They’re making bad decisions. They’re dealing with super intelligent lawyers. We’re back-woods hicks. We’re getting ripped off.”

Kroll said he sat down in his Halibut Cove living room with Jay and Bella Hammond and Clem Tillion to work on the Permanent Fund. By not fully funding the dividend, Walker and the Alaska Legislature have taken away about $6,000 from his family, he said.

Kroll advocated more farming, growing agribusiness by letting people get an acre of land by checking a box on their dividend application in return for a PFD.

“We need to become more self supporting,” he said. “We need to have larger farms.”

Owning land would help reduce crime, too, Kroll said.

“If more people owned land and property, they wouldn’t be inclined to break the law,” he said. “They’d have something to lose.”

Alaskans could grow all sorts of products, including hemp, Kroll suggested.

“There’s a lot of opportunity here. I talked to a young guy. He bought 30 acres near Happy Valley. He’s a farmer,” he said. “… I’m amazed there are actually people out there capable of doing things. It opened my eyes a lot.”

Kroll said he thinks state government is going in the wrong direction.

“I believe we’re on the wrong evolutionary track. We’re not a self-supporting state,” he said. “We’ve been ripping off all the resources to run government. I’m not sure we can be saved.”

The lower peninsula should vote for him, Kroll said.

“If you want someone to kick the can down the road, vote for the other guy If you want someone who looks like a deer caught in the headlights, vote for someone else,” he said.

Reach Michael Armstrong at

1) What is the biggest issue facing Alaska and how would you address it?

a. Our government leaders have violated the state Constitution Article 8 to get land into private hands thereby neglected the safety and welfare of residents of Alaska. Instead they concentrated on getting billions of dollars from big corporations to build more government. Now only 2% of the food we eat is grown in Alaska and only 1% of the land is in private hands. We desperately need to make Alaska less dependent on other states and MAKE ALASKA GREAT AGAIN.

2) What approach would you take to the state budget and the fiscal gap: a) maintain status quo with $1.7 billion paid for out of Permanent Fund earnings and a PFD cap of $1,600, b) set no cap on PFD. (If so, how would you either find other revenue to fund government or cut the budget?) or c) some other approach?

a. We need to stop government from taking money from the Permanent Fund. As Governor Jay Hammond said, “It’s asinine for government to take the Permanent Fund.” If your government leaders were more astute in contracting with professional lawyers working for big corporations we wouldn’t have the problem of a budget deficit.

b. This state has a railroad that’s losing money, a bus line that losing money. a ferry system that’s losing money, a fast ferry invest of 30-million with was sold for $300,000, and an empty prison that’s costing $250,000.00 a year to keep the pipes from freezing. The list goes on and on…

c. And, it has more than one thousand non-profit municipal corporations throughout the state that are losing money. The very nature of a non-profit corporation is, ‘it can never show a profit’ so it has to use up all the money the government gives it or it won’t get more. Wildwood Prison is a non-profit, visitor centers are non-profits, cities are non-profits, state courts are non-profits, state troopers is a non-profit, chamber of commerce’s, the state Job Center are all non-profits, Karts, Food Banks, Senior Centers, health centers etc. etc. all have to lose money. I have a list… Maybe some of them could be combined to reduce costs???

3) What is your vision for Alaska?

A. Get more land into private hands to make Alaska self-sufficient with a box on the Permanent fund Application! If the person checks the box they get one acre of land each year instead of the check. This would allow the Permanent fund to grow more. This state has 3-million acres on the Kenai Peninsula and 2-million of it could possibly be used to grow food, fish and other livestock. Sections can be divided up among families alphabetically. The Kenai Borough is sitting on two 160-acre homesteads in Homer and another 700,000 acres north of Nikiski. This land need to be in private hand which would also increase the tax base thereby solving some of the Borough’s revenue shortfall.

B. Finish the road to Nome that was surveyed in 1944 and never finished because the war ended. Solders sunk all the barge loads of equipment off the coast of Nome after the war so they wouldn’t have to build the road. Such a road is necessary to defend Alaska from foreign aggression and would be built by soldiers now serving in Afghanistan and some of the other 850 military bases in 134 countries around the world. All it would take is a request by the Governor.

The road would allow ordinary people to mine silver, gold, minerals and gemstones and quadruple tourism to Alaska. It would reduce food and fuel costs to the villages in northern Alaska and reduce state costs for welfare, health care and other transportation costs.