Meet Republican Incumbent Rep. Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak

Stutes:  “Alaskans are calling for a state budget that is sensible and sustainable, but not one that is balanced on the backs of our residents.”

Commentary By Louise Stutes
For The Cordova Times

I’ll admit that I have a reputation in Juneau, a reputation for straight talk and putting party aside to accomplish the will of the people.

That takes building trust and relationships with other legislators and the heads of state agencies, and negotiating with them for the changes and advancements that Alaskans are calling for.

My coastal community constituents are calling for protecting and sustaining our fishery resources. As chair of the state Fisheries Committee, and by working closely with bipartisan colleagues, I was successful at making sure that approximately $750,000 was put back into the state budget to keep our salmon counting fish weirs operating in critical areas.

By bringing together state agencies, fishermen, local tribes and Cordova business leaders, I helped facilitate a project that could soon revive a local Tanner crab fishery. And I have led the charge to provide relief for our salmon fishermen devastated by the failure of this year’s pink salmon runs.  The governor has taken my request on to the Federal Government in asking for the pink salmon season of 2016 to be declared a disaster.

Residents of Cordova, Yakutat, Kodiak, Seldovia, Port Graham, Tatitlek, Tyonek, Halibut Cover and Nanwalek are calling for a Fish First policy that prioritizes clean waters and protects habitats. That’s why I am on the record opposing the massive coalmine proposed at the Chuitna River in upper Cook Inlet. And that is why I am taking the lead on transboundary discussions to ensure that toxins from development projects “upstream” from our borders do not harm Alaska’s waters.


I also believe it is my job to keep the importance of our ferries at the forefront of our state’s priorities. Nearly 85-percent of Alaska is not connected by roads. For coastal residents, a dependable marine highway system is our roadway to and from our communities.

Alaskans are calling for a state budget that is sensible and sustainable, but not one that is balanced on the backs of our residents. As a member of the bipartisan “musk ox” coalition, I helped block legislation that would give millions of dollars in tax credits to oil companies. I won’t sugar coat the fact that it will take a combination of taxes, spending cuts and more belt-tightening to draw Alaska back from the brink of fiscal crisis. I will count on your voice to guide my voice as state lawmakers continue to grapple with this difficult issue.

I am proud that I have the support of both the House majority and minority in my bid for re-election to the Alaska legislature. When you go to the polls on November 8, remember that it takes 21 votes in the House to pass or block any laws. Any one person promising “change” from the get go is simply not being straight with you.

I’ll bet my reputation on it.