Luke Hopkins, Tammie Wilson go head-to-head in mayoral debate
by Mary Beth Smetzer /
Oct 29, 2009 | 2948 views | 18 18 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Fairbanks North Star Borough mayoral candidates Tammie Wilson, left, and Luke Hopkins square off during a debate Thursday evening, Oct. 29, 2009, in the borough assembly chambers.  At center is the debate's moderator, KFAR radio host Steve Floyd.
Fairbanks North Star Borough mayoral candidates Tammie Wilson, left, and Luke Hopkins square off during a debate Thursday evening, Oct. 29, 2009, in the borough assembly chambers. At center is the debate's moderator, KFAR radio host Steve Floyd.
FAIRBANKS — Borough mayoral candidates faced off in a Lincoln-Douglas style formal debate Thursday night in front of a half-filled Borough Assembly chamber.

Luke Hopkins and Tammie Wilson, both Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly members, are vying for the borough mayor’s seat in a runoff race on Tuesday.

Candidates spoke singularly in timed sequences, stating their views, asking questions and making rebuttals to each other’s statements.

Hopkins started the debate stating his reasons for running for mayor; his vision for the community he has lived and worked in for 43 years; his experience managing a large, diverse work force; and working with family, neighbors and the community in various capacities.

Hopkins said he wants to see an Interior air quality plan written in Fairbanks by Fairbanksans, not by the EPA or the state. He also said he wants to bring low-cost energy to Fairbanks in the near future.

Wilson said she would not support taxes of any kind nor the Fairbanks Economic Development Corporation, which the borough supports with $400,000 in funding. She said the borough has its own in-house economic development position.

Wilson said she would demand the state give the Interior affordable energy options as they have done for both Juneau and Anchorage, although she offered no specifics.

In his rebuttal Hopkins backed FEDC, calling it “one more tool in the the local government toolbox,” which created 12 new jobs in the past year and brought $3 million into the borough related to cold weather testing.

The pair tangled on how the Alaska Gasline Port Authority, which Hopkins has been involved with as a board director, might impact competing projects.

“As mayor, we need to leave all options open,” Wilson said. “I am very concerned if you work with the Port Authority you might not look into other areas.”

Hopkins said his involvement with the Port Authority would not keep him from reviewing another project that comes along. He said the Port Authority, which is semi-independent financially, does not have to go back to the state and seek permission before moving ahead with a viable project.

Hopkins said he expects to see natural gas here in two years.

In the final two-minute round, Hopkins criticized Wilson, saying he didn’t understand why she made public comments about land use issues saying if people didn’t like what was on her land “let them pay for my property taxes, let them pay for my land and let them do what they want.”

Hopkins said, “As a mayor (candidate), that seems not to be the attitude to have.”

He was referring to Wilson’s stance on junkyard land-use rules.

Wilson responded that some of the vehicles (10) on her screened, 10-acre property were stored for “military boys” who fought in Iraq, and she was happy to do so free of charge.

The debate, sponsored by the Tanana Valley League of Women Voters, was aired on KFAR Radio with Steve Floyd serving as moderator.

At a university student-led forum Wednesday night, Hopkins said the borough and university should do more to work together when seeking help for construction and operating from state lawmakers. He said the university is a key part of the borough’s economy, citing the Tanana Valley Campus’ work force development programs as an example.

Hopkins said assembly members have stayed below their annual spending allowances and generally held recent budget growth to match the rate of inflation.

“That to me is responsible budgeting,” Hopkins said.

Wilson told university students Wednesday the public school district’s $230 million-plus annual spending plans are “unsustainable.” The borough government provides one-fifth of that budget, and Wilson said the mayor’s office carries a role, partly through dialogue, of ensuring more of that money makes its way into the classroom.

Wilson said she has knocked on 6,000 doors during her campaign. She said most people she meets say they want to see budget cuts, and she has responded by proposing cuts to FEDC and at least a partial end to government landscaping along Airport Way, which costs $70,000 annually.

“Volunteers used to plant those flowers,” she said.
Comments-icon Post a Comment
October 30, 2009
After hearing the debate I can see why her campaign muzzled her for so long. Cat's out of the bag now though.
October 30, 2009
¡ǝʌıʇɔǝdsɹǝd ǝןʇʇıן ɐ uıɐƃ puɐ sʇnɹ ɹnoʎ ɟo ʇno ʇǝƃ oʇ noʎ dןǝɥ ןןıʍ sıɥʇ ǝqʎɐɯ ɔʇǝ 'ƃuıqqɐʇsʞɔɐq 'dıssoƃ 'ɹǝʌǝɟ uıqɐɔ ɟo ǝsɐɔ pɐq ɐ ǝʌɐɥ oʇ ɯǝǝs ןןɐ noʎ ǝɔuıs

One can only hope!
October 30, 2009
Steve Floyd moderator...

And conservatives had the gall to complain about Gwen Ifill moderating the VP debates...
October 30, 2009
I'd be *extremely* happy to see FedCo and the GFbkCofC off the [local] gov't teat. I think morals and ethics would improve if their strongest supporters were out of the community, personally. [Seriously -"Anything that makes money is good!" ??????????]

But mostly, I'll be very happy when the electioneering is over!
October 30, 2009
TYRANNY, in the form of HIGH TAXES , costly regulations, and wasteful union backed public projects and jobs.........HOPKINS to a Tee....

LIBERTY , in the form of LOW TAXES, LIMITED regulations, and common sense ,needed projects ...

...TAMMIE to a Tee

TYRANNY = Hopkins



October 30, 2009

There is no doubt that Tammie will lose the election on Tuesday. She simply does not deserve to represent this community. No Sir. No Way, No how.

Fact: Tammie is in violation of Alaska law with her illegal campaign signs. Following the law is something Tammie has demonstrated she will not do when it serves her own best interests.

Fact: Tammie was denied dividend checks because she lied to the PFD people in her first application. Seems one actually has to live her for a certain period of time before being eligible. Tammie thought the rules did not apply.

Fact: Tammie owns a junkyard, and no matter how tightly she tries to wrap the American flag around her body she still is a junkyard queen who is violation borough law. Once again, Tammie thinks the rules do not apply to her.

Fact: Tammie has no plan to cut borough spending although she's been asked many times. The best she can say is she will "study" the issue. Don't Wilson supporters realize THEY are being scammed?

Fact: Tammie voted for gold plated union contracts that have locked taxpayers into that obligation for the next three years. TAMMIE WILL GET THOSE GREAT BENEFITS IF SHE IS ELECTED. Don't you Tammie supporters see that you are being used? She PRETENDS to be a fiscal conservative unless it comes to her own paycheck. Then all bets are off.

Fact: Tammie has only been here six years and her inexperience shows every time she is asked a serious question. Holy Crow.

Fact: Tammie has been chronically underemployed for most of the last ten years. Doesn't that concern Wilson supporters?
October 30, 2009
Great that Tammy doesnt have a job and she can volunteer her time. For those of us that do have jobs, I dont think that GVEA or ACS would take my "volunteered" time to pay my bill!
October 30, 2009
You're all crazy. I'm writing in Frank Turney.
October 30, 2009
Luke really put his foot in his mouth at the debate. He made himself look foolish. Now all Tammie Wilson needs to win is that the Newsminer endorse Luke.

How about it Newsminer? Can't you see fit to publish an editorial endorsing Luke? It would surely put it in the bag for Tammie Wilson.
October 30, 2009
Last question from Luke proved he doesn't get it. Can't understand the "ownership" part of land owner. Tammie understands that by parking those Soldier's cars on her 10 acres that she would be in violation of the ordinace of "Junkyard". What she said was sarcastic about paying her taxes and morgage. I still think that if you get monies from the Unions and Anchorage that you will be beholding to them when things come around. You have to be crazy that Luke will be opened minded. By the way Salcha is part of the Bourough as well. If he was the "nice, respectable person" everyone claims he is, then he would have not condoned the comments in the News Miner.
October 30, 2009

Thank you for all the coverage you have provided to the run-off election. Also, thank you to all the groups for the forums and to Chamber for the upcoming forum. This has all been very informative and helpful.

One thing that disturbs me is all the nasty comments that have been made about particular groups, people, and the candidates on the blogs. We are all members of this community. I have lived here for 25 years and know a fair amount of people. I can't help but wonder who these bloggers are that write such disparaging remarks. We are a relatively small community; the bloggers are our neighbors, friends, etc.
October 30, 2009
I listened to the debate last night and fLuke still avoids straight answers and looks like a fool!

I am voting for TAMMIE WILSON!
October 30, 2009
And I forgot, how many of our "military boys" kept their cars at Tammie's junkyard instead of inside the old K-Mart like everyone else.

And I do not call them boys. Boys hang around junk yards and whine about things they know little about.

We have men and women defending us.
October 30, 2009
Larmex is just the kind of fool Tammie is looking for. Go for it Larmex.

There has been scientific proof that cigarettes cause lung cancer and all the rest of the problems associated with smoking since 1964. Not some BS study from the cigarette manufacturers but real evolution-believing, school-educated, scientists who wrote peer-reviewed, published studies.

You should hope you don't find out the truth too soon.

I have seen the photos of old-time coal-fired, wood-heated Fairbanks and it was far worse than these days. I have talked to folks who were born and raised in Fairbanks. The truth is when coal and wood were king, ice fog in Fairbanks was way worse than anything in the last 40 years. But, due to oil, cleaner furnaces, cleaner running cars and generally warmer winters we get to breath cleaner air.

If you and the other clingers want to trash the air, land and water we need, those of us with more than half a brain hope you and Tammie LOSE.
October 30, 2009
Without stepping out quite as far as Larmex did, I think you are dead wrong Cancer Survivor!! The debate made it abundantly clear who we should be voting for, and it is Tammie Wilson!!
October 30, 2009
Dear Cancer survivor, I am glad you are still with us, we need more sheep like yourself.

I smoked more than two million cigaretts in my life, if smoking CAUSES cancer then I would think I would have it. If you tell a lie long enough some how it becomes fact. Cancer is a big business, it has passed the cigarett business in dollars.

I quit smoking five years ago and dont feel any better than I did when I smoked, but I did save lots of money on paying the government all that tax.

How long has the Fairbanks area been burning wood in wood stoves? Have you seen the photos of NC Company hauling wood for the power plant ? Why is it now that we burn about one third of the wood has it become a problem? The real answer is not a HEALTH issue but one of government employees trying to keep their jobs. The IM program finally became a no-issue, they need something to keep their jobs. It is sheep like yourself that permit them to keep finding something to justify their jobs.

If you for one second think thoes people are conserned about your health then I have a bridge to sell you...
Cancer Survivor
October 30, 2009

The most boneheaded thing I heard in the debate was the moronic statement by Tammie about our dirty air. Tammie suggested that our dirty air isn't a health issue.


Every medical doctor that listened to such an absurd claim must have gasped at how ignorant Tammie is. Here it is in 2009 and the scientific evidence about how dirty air, especially small particulates, overwhelmingly documents the danger to human health, and we have a candidate for mayor telling us that it isn't real? We already had Tammie tell us she wants ZERO regulation of outdoor wood boilers. No doubt she has no problem with filthy air.

This is why we have debates. Thanks goes to Steve Floyd and the TVLWV for making it abundantly clear why we must vote for Luke Hopkins. Our lives depend on it. encourages a lively exchange of ideas regarding topics in the news. Users are solely responsible for the content. Comments are not pre-approved by News-Miner staff. Please keep it clean, respect others and use the 'report abuse' link when necessary. Read our full user's agreement.