Candidate Q&A: Greg Madden

Senate candidate states views on budget, PFD, taxes

Relative political newcomer Greg Madden of Soldotna is hoping to serve his first term in the Alaska Senate. Having secured the Alaska Independence Party nomination when he ran unopposed in the August primary, he now faces incumbent Sen. Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak, in the general election.

Originally from Corpus Christi, Texas, Madden has lived in Alaska since 2001. He is a chiropractic physician in Soldotna and is a member of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education. He taught school while in Texas.

Madden also made an unsuccessful run for the Alaska House of Representatives District 31 seat in 2018.

Should he be elected, he would represent Senate District P, which covers Kasilof, Homer, the southern Kenai Peninsula, Kodiak, Cordova, Seldovia and a southern portion of Soldotna.

He’s running in the Alaska Independence Party, he said, because he’s not happy with the work that either Republicans or Democrats have done in the Alaska Legislature.

According to his 30-day campaign disclosure report filed on Oct. 5 with the Alaska Public Offices Commission, Madden raised $3,898 over a previous amount of $153.92. Major contributors were $300 and $650 in non-monetary contributions for bookkeeping services from Kathy Robertson of Uvalde, Texas; $500 from a Ninilchik resident, and $500 from a Soldotna resident. Major expenditures were $1,115 for sgins from AT Publishing in Anchorage, $806.98 for cards from Vistaprint in Waltham, Massachusetts, and $815.80 in postage.

For his biography, Madden writes:

“Greg Madden is a chiropractic physician and minister in Soldotna. He serves on the Kenai Peninsula Borough School Board and has been asked to step up to help Alaska avoid the financial catastrophe we currently face. Because of his experience running his own practice since 2001 and his calm, cool approach to finding problem resolutions, as well as his natural leadership abilities, he would make an ideal Senator for the great state of Alaska. Greg loves Alaska and wants to leave the best future possibilities for the next generations of Alaskans.”

Question: What made you want to run for the Alaska Senate?

Answer: I was visiting my ailing father in Texas when Alaskan friends phoned, asking that I run for the Senate seat. With the extreme budget gap and inability of the legislature to control the situation, they sought a new crop of legislators who would take a more responsible approach. Complaining does no good, so I agreed to join the battle for a better situation for future Alaskans, including our grandchildren. A government that burns through reserves and consumes our wealth is not a government of, for or by the people. Paul Harvey warned us that government inherently wants to expand until the government is all powerful and the people are cattle. Enough is enough.

Q: Other than issues caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, what do you see as the three biggest issues currently facing the state of Alaska?

A: Besides COVID, we are facing the economic devastation caused by lockdowns. People are hurting, businesses are failing and our economy needs a serious boost. We should give the people their own money which was stolen over the last five years, per statutory formula — it is the law. Sufficient money is sitting in the Earnings Reserve Account and is ready for disbursement. Why would the legislature try to borrow money to pay back what they owe to oil companies yet they will take the money rightfully owed to you and your children without a second thought? Money in the hands of the people has a far greater effect of economic stimulus than money spent by the government.

Reckless legislators have burned through our reserves and their 75% of oil income. Now they are dipping into your PFD and your earned income is already in their sights as well. Don’t feed the bears — they are never satisfied. We should send the bears packing and enshrine a true and absolute spending cap into our constitution. We must return trust and credibility to our government.

An example of unnecessary government restrictions involves limitations on or closing of commercial fisheries. This affects our state revenues and the livelihood of many Alaskans. Commercial fishing is one of the top three money makers for Alaska and I am always willing to listen to more commercial fishers on how to responsibly improve their opportunities.

Q: What is your position/philosophy on how to balance a state budget?

A: First, we must pass a constitutional amendment to enshrine a true, practical hard cap for spending that would limit the legislature to spend only the revenues available, excluding the Permanent Fund and the Earnings Reserve. Second, we return to constitutional mandates to see what is required and what is not. Required matters are addressed first, then we see what is left to address other spending options.

There are many tools not in use that would help balance the budget. I will not capitulate to limit your liberties until all tools are used.

Q: Do you support a full Permanent Fund Dividend as set in the 1986 formula?

A: Absolutely, as per the statutory formula. It is the law. Claims that we can no longer afford such are simply admissions that government spending is out of control. We must be prudent with the people’s money. The legislature has no more right to your PFD than they have to your boat, home or land. Let that sink in. Nobody is safe when government decides to grow at the expense of the people. If the PFD calculation is to be redone, it must be approved by the vote of the people.

Q: Which state departments or areas of state spending, if any, do you see as being able to be cut in the next budget cycle? Please be specific.

A: We must go back to the constitutional mandates of state spending. Education, public safety and infrastructure (including ferries) are all necessary expenses, though they can be streamlined. Our state is missing billions of dollars in our new state budget and everything is on the table for consideration, but funds flow first to Constitutional mandates. We must stop funding unfilled positions, stop wasteful spending and be willing to stop needless spending on things we do not absolutely need in our extreme fiscal circumstances.

Previous legislatures and their leadership have forced us into a dire situation that must be corrected before it destroys our opportunity for recovery.

Q: What is your stance on introducing a statewide tax to Alaska (either an income tax or a sales tax)?

A: There are many tools not being used that can solve our fiscal chasm. I will not capitulate your liberty when these tools have not truly been put into effect. Remember that politicians are already stealing your PFD and eyeing your earned income.

When income tax was introduced to pay the expenses of the Great War, it was promised that it would be repealed once the debt was settled. It was 1-7% with only 3% of Americans paying income tax. After the second World War the rate was 23-94%. Liberty is about your enjoyment of the rewards of your own industry. Responsible spending is required.

When Governor Walker proposed an income tax it only accounted for $200 million, but that would also have to finance an entire new layer of bureaucracy as well. This does not solve a $2.4 billion deficit. Passing a new tax will not begin to cover the reckless decisions of past legislatures and their leadership.

Q: How do you plan to help the House and Senate achieve cooperation when it comes to passing a budget?

A: First we need to change out those that have been running us toward the cliff of fiscal catastrophe. If a financial planner treated your child’s college fund how the current legislature has treated your state, would you give them more money?

Cooperation and agreement comes through common goals. Legislators that want to persist in the head long plunge into financial ruin are not who we need at the helm.

Alaska has money available without the need for new taxation, but it is going to require making the commitment to reel in irresponsible spending and increase efficiency of state spending.

Q: What is your position on the proposed Pebble Mine project?

A: I support mining, in general, but I do not have enough information to have a firm decision. I have asked representatives for details specifically on the pyritic tailings and I am still waiting to hear back. Until I know that Pebble Mine can stand on its own merit, I cannot support it.

Q: What is your favorite book?

A: That is easy. The Bible is my favorite book. I read it every day because it has the answers for life and all enduring laws of liberty and freedom have roots in the Bible. Our Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are reflective of this. Your rights as an American are enumerated in part in the Bill of Rights, but read the founding documents to clearly see that those rights do not come from the government, this was our government acknowledging that these inalienable rights come from God Almighty.