A Haines resident and retired educator is running a write-in campaign against Alaska House Representative Sam Kito III. Kito, a Democrat, was originally running unopposed. Libertarian William ‘Bill’ McCord says he knows it’s a long shot campaign, but he wants voters to have a choice.
McCord chose to run a write-in campaign when he found out that Kito’s name would be the only one on the ballot for House District 33.
“That doesn’t work very well in a Democratic society,” McCord said. “So I decided to be a write-in candidate to provide a choice — what I consider is a better choice.”
District 33 includes downtown Juneau, Haines, Skagway, Klukwan and Gustavus. Kito has represented the district for more than two years. He was appointed to the seat in early 2014 and then won election later that year.
McCord is a retired teacher who has not run for public office in Alaska before. He moved to Haines about two and a half years ago from Washington State.
The Libertarian says his main complaint about Kito is that he doesn’t speak up enough on issues important to his district.
“Like being much more affirmative about the marine highway system, which is very, very important to Haines.”
McCord says the Alaska Marine Highway has suffered from a lack of long-term planning. He says he would advocate for exploring privatization of the system.
Another of McCord’s main priorities is to prevent implementation of a state income tax. That’s one of the possibilities some legislators have explored to ease Alaska’s budget deficit.
McCord says an income tax would erode people’s personal and financial privacy.
“Alaska is one of the few states in the entire country that has no income tax. And that’s just opening the door for all kinds of interesting things like prying into peoples’ private lives, which of course involves their income.”
What strategies does McCord favor for dealing with the state budget crisis? He says he would reluctantly support modifications to state sales tax, but only if there was a sunset clause making the changes temporary.
McCord thinks tapping into the Permanent Fund is an OK option, although not ideal.
“I think, the governor, unfortunately he’s forced with a financial crisis and I think he’s taken a reasonable approach to cutting it roughly in half.”
If elected, McCord says he would resist legislative special sessions that prolong lawmakers’ work.
“They say ‘we gotta cut the budget.’ Well cutting the budget begins at home, is the way I look at it. If you can’t get the business done during the regular session then you need to do some rethinking about your own behavior and your obligation to the taxpayers of Alaska.”
McCord’s slogan is ‘Vote Fearlessly for Freedom and Liberty.’
“The first question you should always ask is, if there’s a proposal by government, does this advance freedom or take it away?”
McCord says he knows he doesn’t have a strong chance of winning against the incumbent, especially as a write-in candidate. But he hopes his campaign will draw more attention to the Libertarian party across the Nov. 8 election ballot. And, McCord is achieving his goal of giving people a choice.