Relative political newcomer Greg Madden of Soldotna is hoping to serve his first term in the Alaska Senate, and is one of the choices on the ballot during the upcoming August primary election.
Madden is running in the primary in the Alaska Independence Party. He is unopposed in that party. Incumbent Senator Gary Stevens (R-Kodiak) and challenger John Cox of Anchor Point are also running in the primary election in the Republican Party.
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.
“Whether we have Republicans or Democrats, we have more government and more spending, and I don’t believe either of those is the answer for the problems that we are trying to deal with,” Madden said.
Like some other legislators, Madden is not in favor of Alaska’s current caucus system, which he called a binding caucus. In Alaska, the House and Senate majorities agree to vote together on the budget and some other matters.
“I don’t mind caucusing with people, but binding?” Madden said. “No. I want to be free of entanglement, where I want to be free to do the best thing that I see as needing to be done.”
Like Cox, Madden is running in part to restore the Permanent Fund Dividend to the more traditional statutory formula. He is also in favor of reimbursement or back pay to Alaskans to restore the amount of the PFD he says has been lost over the years.
“When we feed the politicians and the political machine, it just keeps coming back for more,” he said.
Madden said the current Legislature “blows past” the limit of their sessions in Juneau routinely, and that’s something he’d like to try to address.
“We shouldn’t just blow past the limits and expect that to happen,” he said. “That should be a special session.”
A major focus of Madden’s campaign is “reeling in” government spending. At the same time, he wants to ensure that no new taxes are instituted for Alaskans.
Madden acknowledged that the state is struggling with reduced revenue, especially this year. He said he thinks the state can continue to whittle down its budget, and balance it without an additional form of revenue.
“We only need to spend what we bring in and we do not need new taxes,” Madden said.
Madden did not have specifics in terms of areas of the budget to cut, besides saying that the legislature should stick to funding only what is required by the Alaska Constitution.
“There is so much beyond that that’s just extra things that have made their way in (to the budget) over time,” he said.
Madden’s suggestions for increasing revenue to the state are to “allow oil to flow” as freely as possible by supporting oil industry development as much as possible, as well as easing legislation and regulations that could make it difficult for the mining and fishing industries to operate.
“Now, there have to be regulations with fishing and mining,” Madden said, and he has no problem with that.
But, he’d like to ensure that projects get fair assessments for their plans when it comes to development of mines, bridges, roads, etc., he said.
Additionally, Madden said two of his priorities would be keeping the Alaska Marine Highway System maintained and Alaska’s police forces fully funded.
Madden said he wants a state government that focuses on ensuring that all people have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
“If government would get out of the way, I think we would build on that considerably,” he said.
Madden said that, if elected, he’ll stay the course once in office. He commented that some elected officials seem to start taking on a different character after they’re elected.
“Why am I running?” he said. “I’m tired of complaining.”
Madden said voters can get more information about his campaign by calling 907-420-4120.
Reach Megan Pacer at firstname.lastname@example.org.