2020 Alaska Senate Candidate Guide

Al Gross - Independent
Al Gross - Independent
Dan Sullivan - Republican (Incumbent)
Dan Sullivan - Republican (Incumbent)

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ABORTION – Legal or ban?

Al Gross – Legal. “I’ll defend a woman’s right to choose, and fight attacks on safe, affordable reproductive health care.”

Dan Sullivan – Highly restrict. “Life begins at conception and we must fight to protect the lives of the unborn.” Ban abortions after 20 weeks. 

AFFORDABLE CARE ACT – Support Obamacare (ACA) and/or expansion of Medicaid and Medicare?

Al Gross – Yes. Running because Sullivan voted repeatedly to scrap the ACA. Favors offering public option, though not Medicare for all, and focusing more on addressing costs.

Dan Sullivan – No. Supported repeal of the ACA and eliminating the requirement for individuals to enroll in health insurance.

BUDGET CUTBACKS – Support Gov. Dunleavy’s cutbacks to Marine Highway system, University of Alaska, and other state programs to shift money to Permanent Fund dividend?

Al Gross – No. “Ferries play such an integral role in the way of life in Southeast Alaska, and defunding them threatens the prosperity and health of our coastal communities and villages.”

Dan Sullivan – Has declined to comment on specific cuts, like Marine Highway system, but would prioritize the dividend. “One thing I have learned about government is that it will spend every dime you give it, justify it, and ask for more.” Supported including ferry system in federal transportation funding.

CAMPAIGN FINANCE – Support Citizens United and unlimited corporate political contributions?

Al Gross – No. “I will fight to end Citizens United and get dark money out of politics.”

Dan Sullivan – Yes. Supported Citizens United, while proposing to reject “outside money” in 2014 Senate race.

CLIMATE CHANGE – Consider human-caused climate change a serious threat?

Al Gross – Yes. “With a background in science, I know what a serious threat climate change is to the state of Alaska, where we are literally losing villages to the ocean.”

Dan Sullivan – Mixed. Unclear if human-caused. Both threat and benefit. “Climate change … in Alaska … is opening up opportunities”: more fishing, commerce and shipping as sea ice recedes. But melting permafrost harms roads.

CLIMATE CHANGE – Address as a top priority by taxing or limiting output of greenhouse gases?

Al Gross – Yes. “Enormous potential to develop wind, hydroelectric, solar, and tidal power. … Reducing energy costs in rural Alaska creates new jobs.” Supports re-entering the Paris Climate Agreement.  Does support ANWR drilling “in an environmentally safe way.”

Dan Sullivan – No. Against any ban on hydrocarbon production.  Asked Trump to pressure financial institutions benefiting from CARES Act to keep “investing in U.S. coal” and oil and gas development. Strong supporter of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge drilling.

CORONAVIRUS – Support administration’s response to coronavirus?

Al Gross – No. Trump “lost months of preparedness that will be paid for in American lives.” “The federal government has failed promoting an organized national response.”  Also felt Alaska fishermen left out of COVID economic response.

Dan Sullivan – Yes. Praised Trump’s COVID task force, though said country needed to “get focused” on more testing. Praises investment in vaccines. On CARES Act, said he fought for inclusion of aid to fishermen.

COURTS – Supported Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court?

Al Gross – No position found. See CEEP Supreme Court guide.

Dan Sullivan – Yes. Called Kavanaugh’s nomination “an inspired choice, … a man who’s got a lot of humility.” See CEEP Supreme Court guide

ENVIRONMENT – Support development of major gold and copper Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay?

Al Gross – No. Early opponent. Calls Pebble Mine “the epicenter of crony capitalism,” the “single greatest threat to our Alaska wild salmon” and an “act of cultural genocide against Alaska Native peoples in Bristol Bay.” Alaska Democratic Party has opposed the mine.

Dan Sullivan – Unclear. Has said he would support if adequate permitting process endorsed it. Opposed Obama administration’s “preemptive veto of the project,” and supported Trump EPA’s repeal of Obama Clean Power Plan, removing a major obstacle. Alaska Republican Party supports the mine.

FINANCIAL REGULATION – Tighten or loosen regulation of banks and credit card companies?

Al Gross – No position found.

Dan Sullivan – Loosen. Co-sponsored 2019 act to weaken Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. 

GAY RIGHTS – Support gay marriage and other gay rights issues?

Al Gross – Yes.  “As a doctor, I worked for the health and well-being of my patients regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. As a senator, I will do the same.”

Dan Sullivan – No. Has opposed gay marriage. Sponsored 2015 act that would prevent government sanctions against contractors whose religious beliefs led them to discriminate against gay couples. 

GUN CONTROL – Enact more restrictive legislation?

Al Gross – No. Is pro-gun rights. Opposes assault weapons ban

Dan Sullivan – No. “Instead of infringing on Americans’ constitutional rights, we can work harder to enforce existing laws and keep guns out of the hands of those with mental illness.”

IMMIGRATION – Path to citizenship for DACA recipients, or “DREAMers” brought to the U.S. as children?

Al Gross – Yes. Will place a priority on protecting DACA recipients.

Dan Sullivan – Mixed. Supported Trump proposal offering DACA recipients path to citizenship in return for major border wall funding and major cuts in legal immigration.  

IRAN – Prohibit military attacks on Iran without congressional approval? Support Trump’s withdrawal from Iran nuclear deal.

Al Gross -No position found on military attacks. Opposed withdrawal from nuclear deal: “Go back to the table with them and negotiate … rather than just unilaterally pull out of a pre-arranged agreement.”

Dan Sullivan – No on requiring congressional approval for attacks. Voted against February 2020 measure that would have required this. Supported withdrawal from “fundamentally flawed” Iran nuclear deal.

MINIMUM WAGE – Raise federal hourly minimum wage above current $7.25?

Al Gross – Yes. Says good-paying jobs in Alaska start “by raising the minimum wage and defending collective bargaining rights for our workers and unions.” 

Dan Sullivan – Unclear. In 2014 changed position to support increasing state minimum wage by $2 an hour, but said he opposed federal minimum wages. In 2019 opposed $15-an-hour wage.

PLANNED PARENTHOOD – Can Planned Parenthood receive public funds for non-abortion-related care?

Al Gross – Likely yes. Planned Parenthood endorses as someone “who believes health care decisions are between a patient and their doctor.”

Dan Sullivan – No. Voted to defund Planned Parenthood in 2015. Has continued to support defunding Planned Parenthood.

SAUDI ARABIA – Block arms sales to Saudi Arabia?

Al Gross – No position found.

Dan Sullivan – No. Voted against senate measure to block sale of precision bombs to Saudi Arabia.

STUDENT FINANCIAL AID – Support free or subsidized tuition for lower-income individuals?

Al Gross – Likely yes. “I will fight to make college more affordable and accessible for all Alaskans.” 

Dan Sullivan – No position found.

TAXES – Position on Measure 1 to increase taxes on oil production? Supported Trump administration’s $1.9 trillion tax cuts?

Al Gross – Supports Measure 1. No position found on Trump tax cuts.

Dan Sullivan – Opposes Measure 1. Keep the structure of SB 21, which Sullivan helped create as incentive for oil production. Voted yes on Trump tax cuts and Jobs Act.

 

Campus Election Engagement Project is a nonpartisan effort to help colleges engage students in elections. Sources include Votesmart.org, FactCheck.org, Politifact.com and candidate statements. Vote411.org and Ballotready.org offer guides to local races.