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tv   Campaign 2018 Alaska Governors Debate  CSPAN  October 30, 2018 12:56am-1:56am EDT

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next, the alaska governor's debate between former u.s. senator mark begich and republican mike stanley b. walker,t governor bill an independent, suspended his campaign for reelection in the days leading up to this debate and did not pay. governor walker's name will still appear on the ballot, but he has come out in support of democratic candidate mark begich. this is just under an hour. >> alaska public media and channel two news present debate for the state -- the gubernatorial candidates. here are your moderators, lauren compton and mike ross. >> good evening, and thank you for joining us for debate for the state. we are coming to you live from alaska public media. i'm lori townsend. >> and i mike ross. am we will post a series of questions to the two candidates for governor. mike dunn leamy and mark begich, on some of the big issues facing
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our state of alaska >> other reporters are also. we will also feature video questions from the communities in the area as well. >> all the questions and answers will be timed. the candidates will also be given an opportunity to ask questions of each other. they will each start with a one minute opening statement. the starting order was determined by a point loss. mr. begich, you go first. >> thank you for this great opportunity to share ideas about how we move on alaska forward. the environment we live in today is toxic and negative, and i know we can do better than that. i have been campaigning around the state, traveling and listening to alaskans, and they know we can do better. but they are worried. they worry the state they love is slipping away. we have many challenges. working together, we can solve these challenges, reduce crime, and make it safer for communities all across the state. working together, we can make
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sure that our education is better than it is today. giving opportunities for our young people. working together, we can protect the pfd and make sure we have strong fiscal policy for years to calm. -- for years to come. but tough decisions have to be made. to ensure that we are planning for the future -- not just tomorrow, but 30 years out and for generations to come. i look forward to tonight to having a great discussion about the differences we have. >> thank you, mr. begich. mr. dunlevy, your one minute opening statement? >> thank you. it is a pleasure to be here. my name is mike dunlevy and i'm running for governor. on november 6, you will have a choice. who will take alaska and where will that person take alaska? will we had a pfd be fully funded? better educational outcomes? instead of being dead last in the country, ?an we move up in the ranks
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these are the choices you will be looking at in the next several days before the election. i hope to be your governor. i want to work hard to win your trust. trust has been an issue in this campaign. for the past several years, we have had to look at what politicians say as opposed to what they do. my name is mike dunlevy, i'm running for governor, and i hope for your support. >> the first question tonight is about transparency in government. lastly, byron resigned after making what was described as inappropriate comments. when he took office, bill walker pledged transparency, but has refused to disclose specifics of what was said or the circumstances of the incident. since the conduct of a statewide elected official was involved, does the public have the right to know what was said by mr. milaut? if you had been in bill walker's shoes last week, what would you have done? >> as a public official, we are held to higher scrutiny.
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there are questions as to what occurred. there are statements made and folks are not talking about what happened to protect the victim. i understand that and i hope the victim is getting protection and the help that they need. but this does not help with trust in our government. it does not help with transparency. so hopefully, in this short period of time, we will know exactly what happened. again, i do believe we need to protect the individual, the victim, but alaskans should have an idea as to what occurred. you had a lieutenant governor that resigned and another that stepped aside in the race. >> more disclosure, more transparency is important in these situations, especially when you are dealing with a public official. talking about the issue of transparency is a great question, because i hear all the time about how the government does not disclose enough issues. in all the times i have served in office, i make sure we put
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everything on the table. when people call, we can never formation.r hide in i hear all the time how government doesn't disclose enough issues, put enough information out there. you know, all the times i've served in office i make sure, for example, we put everything on the table. when people called and asked a question, we didn't hide information. we put it out there. we've got to create more trust for our people in this state, you know. they have a distrust of the legislative process, what's going on, a lot of deals are being made behind closed doors. they want to see more of that in front of them. they want to make sure they have a voice and a part of the process so transparency in a broader spectrum, we need to put more of it in our government.
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>> as we said during tonight's debate we will have occasional questions from alaskans around the state. here's dan. future governors, we want to know what you're going to do with the permanent fund. we've got a few specifics. this year's permanent fund dividend was set at $1,600 by the legislature. lawmakers used proceeds from the permanent fund to help balance the state budget. under the previous calculation method. the pfd this year would have been close to $3,000 per alaskan. where do you stand on this? how should we set the amount of the pfd? >> first of all, it's important. the action that the legislature took over the last three years put an impact on working families disproportionately to solve the budget. it was an unfair way to deal with it. right now, the corpus of the funds have about $65 billion. the earnings reserve has about $18 billion in it right now, which the legislature can access with a simple vote and majority vote. what i would do is put a big chunk of that into the corpus, keep it away from these politicians. the next thing i would do is the percent of market value, making sure we have a formula. 50% would go right into the permanent fund dividend and constitutionally protect it. the only one in this race that has talked about constitutionally protecting it. keeping it in your hands. the value of that would be around $2,100 this year. if you leave it where it is today, it will be in the hands of politicians and they'll debate this issue off-and-on and your dividend over time will disappear.
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>> thank you. i fought hard to protect the pfd. the pfd has been an institution in alaska for almost 40 years. the permanent fund was established in the late '70s by the people of alaska to save wealth from that period of time for future generations and the pfd program came in shortly thereafter. it's worked beautifully. the pfd was never the problem. the problem has been overspending by state government over the years. you will have a full pfd under my administration. i fought hard, i voted against sb 128 which was the first attempt to change the pfd. i voted against sb 26 which was another attempt to change the pfd. i submitted bills, sb 1, to return the full pfd. the current calculation that's on the books, that's been on the books for years is the calculation that i will use. and i can assure alaskans that one of the first actions i will take is going to be to return the full pfd to the people of alaska.
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gentlemen, we touched on this, but we do want to reiterate because we hear this from our viewers a lot. do you support the concept of a pfd mandate in the constitution? how would would you structure the permanent fund dividend to make sure the legislature doesn't raid the money to support government spending in years when we have low oil prices and what should the split be going to the state government and the people of alaska? >> i think it should be a 50/50 approach. the people of alaska never complained about the size of the pfd when it was subject to the calculation that's been on the books forever. it was $700 a year, people didn't complain. if it was $900 a year, people didn't complain. people started to get agitated when the governor vetoed the portion of the pfd. and the reason they did that was because they felt that government was sticking their hands in a system that actually worked well. going forward, we may need to have discussions as to what this is going to look like, but it must involve the people of alaska. we want to take a look at whether this thing in fact, this pfd and the permanent fund needs
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to have a different approach. we have to have a discussion with the people of alaska and certainly, they need to be involved in any changes to the pfd program or the permanent fund. >> you've already told us this evening you support a constitutional mandate. how do you keep the legislature from raiding the proceeds from the permanent fund? >> your question is a great question because what has happened, first the constitutional budget reserve, which had $14 million, $16 million. 80% of it is now gone because legislators took that money. now, the way you solve this problem i believe, you've got to put the pfd into the constitution. the earnings reserve, which is a critical part of this, again the legislators have access to this. you've got to take that off the table. put it into the corpus. if you put it into the corpus politicians cannot touch it. the other idea you've got to make sure it's sustainable. the idea that i've laid out is 50% going to the permanent fund dividend, constitutionally protected -- that they'll do the right thing over the long term.
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we need to protect this. the other half i've suggested to go into education funding and constitutionally protect the education funding over the long haul. >> do you have a rebuttal? >> i do. actually, i favor a vote going to the people either an advisory vote and/or a constitutional amendment. in state affairs in which i was the chair, i moved two bills out of state affairs that would have constitutionalized the permanent fund. i think it does need to be protected. my point in what i was referencing earlier was it worked well for years until government put its fingers in it, but i think it's time we have a discussion on what this fund and what the pfd is going to look like going forward, and i think the people need to be involved. >> i think we have an interjection from our panelist. >> follow-up. >> i guess this is for both of you. as far as putting the dividend into the constitution, i think you mentioned the constitutional budget reserve. that's in the constitution, too, and yet you say the legislature
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raided it. how do you protect the dividend? >> i'm sorry -- >> yes. >> okay. he's looking at me so i wanted to answer it, but first, i want to say one thing about mike's plan. his plan leaves a $1.6 billion hole in the budget, you cannot fund what he's suggesting in the long term. people will lose their dividend in the long term. how you write the constitutional protection is you make sure the wording is protecting the dividend for the residents of this state. 50% of it through the percent of market value. it's a formula that you put into the constitution. the constitution budget reserve does not create a formula. it's just a fund that they put money into. >> we'll have to leave it there. >> a quick rebuttal, if you have one sir. >> we need to engage the people of alaska. they're the ones that actually created this fund back in the
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late '70s and they need to be part of what this looks like. again, the pfd although it was approved by the legislature, it's become an institution for the state of alaska for alaskans and so we need to engage them in both i think an advisory vote and a constitutional amendment to make sure that that fund stays intact for future generations. >> all right, gentlemen, thank you. and one more question from andrew from alaskan public media. >> question for both of you. mr. begich, your plan would just -- cost $340 million more for the pfd that's going to state government services this year. mr. dunleavy, your plan would cost more to pay for the pfd. roughly $880 million more. how would each of you make up for that cost? >> well, i think the whole plan, the fiscal plan is what you have to look at. as i suggested, you've got to get the permanent fund dividend resolved. also, i would suggest putting 50% in the constitution protecting education, making sure that comes out of the general fund. the next thing you need to do is make sure government runs as efficiently as possible. there's huge opportunities and
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third, at the end of the day no matter what fiscal plan you have, you're going to have to have a revenue source that solves this problem long term for alaska. >> all right, and mr. dunleavy one more response. >> we need to manage our government better. you can't pick up the paper on a daily basis without seeing something happening with api. we have medicaid overspending. -- overture spending. we have a whole host of issues in terms of management issues in our government. i believe that if we manage our programs better, we can save millions of dollars. shrink the size of government, push those costs down, and then when we get to the point where we have managed the government well, the people of alaska see that we're managing the government well then we can have a discussion as to what revenue sources we need to look for, but until that point, i think the -- i don't think the people of alaska are ready to look at a tax. >> and that's talk about the budget. it's been a major source of debate the past few years since oil prices dropped. oil prices are up, but we know
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they could go down again. what would you do to stabilize the state's budget situation, new revenues like an income tax or a state sales tax? or would you go with new cuts to state services? and please be specific in your answers. i'll start with you. >> well, i think there's a couple of things you can do. i've talked about how you can do some reforms on medicaid, $800 million piece of the puzzle. i support medicaid, i think it's important for our working families, but i do believe through some innovative approaches, 30% of the cost of medicaid is paperwork, moving paper back and forth. i think there's significant opportunity there, but at the end of the day, you know, i know my opponent talks about trust. you have to be honest with the people. we're going to have a broad-based some sort of revenue stream to ensure that we have longevity. you cannot just bank on the high price of oil. you cannot hope today it's $78 and bounce up. that's why we're in this problem. we need to have a balanced approach. maybe today it's a $63 a barrel for our budget maybe put it at $65, whatever goes above that you put aside back into the constitutional budget reserve to
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protect for down side or put it into one time expenditures, but if you plan for the high price of oil we will be in this problem and the next generations will pay the price and that is not acceptable to me. >> mr. begich, the question was income tax, sales tax? >> i think there's a variety of revenue sources, income tax, sales tax. we have to figure out how to get 21 house members, 11 senators to vote for it. i'm open to those options, but i will say this. over $2 billion from outside workers that come up to our state, use our services, don't pay anything. but we pay the bill for them. we need to have a revenue stream that ensures we capture those folks so they pay for some of the services. >> thank you, mr. begich. mr. dunleavy your response? >> when folks talk about taxes, they don't go into details. what kind of taxes? what percentage? how large? who gets exempted? what does it really collect and what are the behaviors that a tax will do? we don't have those discussions. we talk about a tax as if it's some type of magical instrument that if you just put a tax on
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the books everything will be fine. you still have to manage the government better. in the '80s, the people of alaska put into the constitution an appropriation limit to try to ramp down and confine the -- to try and ramp down and confine the legislature's ability to spend a growing operating budget. we need to revisit that amendment. we need to ramp that amendment down, similar to $4 billion and allow that to grow at 2% a year. once you do that, you have to manage your program better. before you even talk about taking the pfd or tax you need to put those instruments in place because if you don't, your government will continue to grow out of control and will be going to the people of alaska year after year for more taxes or. -- or more permanent fund spirit or permanent funds. >> in terms of specific? >> a study to anchorage, i would eliminate that. i would look at eliminating climatologists. we have over 2,000 funded, but unfilled positions. i would look at those positions
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to see what positions and what funding we can move to other parts of government to reduce the size of the government. >> all right, now we're going to be giving the candidates a chance to ask their opponent a question. the format will be 30-second question, a one-minute swar and -- one minute answer and a 30-second rebuttal. mr. dunleavy, your question for mr. begich, please. >> mark, you keep criticizing my approach to managing government, yet you have made it clear you support new taxes on alaskans but have offered absolutely no specifics. so alaskans deserve to know how much can the average family expect to pay in new taxes on your plan, what will you aim for, who's exempt? please give alaskans some specification on your tax plan. >> mr. begich. >> first off, i don't have a specific tax plan. what i have said over and over again, that we have to solve this problem for the long term. we have issues that have been debated for years about a fiscal plan. we are at the point, 80% of the savings of the constitution budget reserve is gone.
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we know we have to deal with the permanent fund dividend. we know we have to deal with more efficiency in government, but at the end of the day no matter what you put on it mike, you're going to have to deal with some revenue streams to solve this problem. and i will be very frank with you. i have managed an operation of 3,000 employees. the city of anchorage we grew with a balanced budget, made sure we had the public safety that was needed, make sure we grew the city, 40% of our new revenues came from development because we invested. this is how you manage a large operation, utilizing those experiences in the state will be an incredible opportunity to give a new renaissance for our state instead of where it is now, high unemployment, high crime, not great education in the sense of where we are compared to other states. >> you have 30 seconds for a rebuttal. >> at the forum we had yesterday, you had yes to the -- you said yes to the sales tax and income tax so the question is what percentage, how large of a tax, who would be exempt? >> do i get to respond? >> go ahead. >> you know, they asked the concepts, i've told you 100 times or less than that because
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you haven't showed up at all the debates, i will tell you that is a conversation of what revenue streams we'll have. will it be a mix? will it not be a mix? we have to figure this out long term. it's the same question i would ask you over and over again. you mentioned three or four things, but your proposal, you just said would have to cut the state budget $600 million based on today's budget. you gave about three or $4 million worth of cuts. where are you going to solve that problem? >> all right, let's leave it there and mr. begich now, you may ask a question of mr. dunleavy, you have 30 seconds. mr. dunleavy, you will have one minute to answer, and then you'll have the 30-second rebuttal if you would like it. >> mike, alaskans are struggling with rising crime rates, some of the highest in the country, as i mentioned, number one. you've been campaigning over and over again telling alaskans you want to make sure we're safe, but when asked specifically recently, what are your details of your crime plan, you said i'll get to it, i'm too busy campaigning. don't you think alaskans deserve to know more details? do you regret that statement that you made about maybe after
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the election you'll have give the details on a crime plan? >> i've been specific in all of our debates, all of our forums. when i'm campaigning on the radio. we have to get the right in front of troopers in place. we have to get the right number of prosecuting attorneys to move our cases through. we have to open up the courts friday afternoon instead of closing it friday afternoon. and we have to look at corrections to make sure we have the right number of folks there because there will be a bit of an increase in folks going to prison. again, the question is going to be how do you pay for this? we have 2,000 positions that were funded, but not filled. we have efficiencies that we all know we can make in our various programs. we'll shift some of that money into public safety. public safety will be one of the first -- it will be the first budget item that i fund as governor because it needs to be priority number one. >> mike your record is a different ballgame. when you were in the senate, multiple times you cut the prosecutors, you cut the attorney's office the court system, the troopers, the
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treatment programs. all the things you just talked about that you want to put back in, you cut them all and you wonder why we're number one in crime? so you don't get it both ways. you've got to be for it or you've got to be against it and right now you're running for office and you have a whole new plan that's made up on the cuts you just made in your term in the senate. >> quick rebuttal. >> yes. >> so the troopers, the public safety employees association endorsed me two weeks ago because they believe that my plan is going to make alaska safer. when i was in the senate, i actually put forth a $50 million amendment that would move money out of agdc into public safety. $10 million into public safety. it was approved by all of the individuals in the senate, it was a 20-0 vote, died over in the house. i do have a plan and i am going to make public safety my number 1 priority as governor. >> thank you, gentlemen. another major topic tonight, education and we're going to -- last april, alaska's fourth and eighth grade students again scored below national averages on reading and math in the national assessment of
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educational progress. now, alaska fourth graders last year scored the lowest in the entire country. gentlemen, is this a sign that we're failing our children and we need to spen more on education, or is it a sign that alaska taxpayers are not getting their money's worth for what they've already paid for public education in alaska? >> i've been an educator my entire career. spent 19 years in rural alaska. alaska's always been concerned about inputs, meaning the government. how much money do we get to put into something? but really we've failed across the board on demanding outcomes. when i'm governor, i'll make sure that all fourth graders, all fourth graders can read by the time they leave third grade. they're going to be able to read at grade level. that is a gate keeper school for -- skill for any other course they're going to pursue. i would make sure that by eighth grade, all of our kids are proficient in algebra. that, too, is a gate keeper course and i would make sure that our career education,
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career tech in high school is also one of quality that is -- that has outcomes, but each of these approaches have to demand the outcomes. we have to have reading specialists that are trained up. we have to make sure that from the governor on down, we expect that these outcomes in reading, proficiency in algebra are there. how do we do that? again, we have to reallocate resources to make sure we're focused on those three core areas. if you do that you're going to see our scores go up and you're going to see kids have more of an opportunity. >> mr. begich, your response? >> as i said, earlier about the permanent fend dividend, 50% of the funding source that we would put, we would make sure the education is fully funded in the constitution. this has been the problem. the legislature every single year puts it on the chopping block, at the end of the year, teachers aren't sure if they're going to get a pink slip or not, parents aren't sure if their favorite teacher is going to be back because of budget cuts. the idea here is to make sure it's constitutionally protected, but also adding in pre-k. the best investment we can make is for pre-k. 90% of the brain development
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occurs for kids between 0 and 5. this is a investment we cannot forget about and i want to make sure that's funded. we need to grow our own. 20 some percent of our educators are from alaska. our university system has started a program, we want to expand that to make sure we are educating or putting into place people from alaska to work in our education system. and we need to make sure it is expanded and make sure we have opportunities for young people, not only to go on to two and four year colleges, but vocational ed, internship programs, all the types of things that we need in this economy more than ever. >> do you support using public dollars to provide school choice vouchers for private schools? mr. begich. >> no, i do not. i think the public education system is an important part. my parents were teachers. my sisters were teachers. my sister in laws were teachers and it's the best investment you can make because at the end of the day it gives everybody no matter who you are, where you
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are, what your income is, an opportunity to have a free education to advance your life in any way you see fit. it's an important investment. i know i differ with my opponent on this. this is public money for public education, but we need to make sure, as i said, before to make sure it's high quality, make sure our kids have the best opportunities. we need to make sure our higher education is reengineered or rethought about how it can match our economy today. making sure if you want to be a nurse today you're not waiting two years to get into a program because every person that comes out of that gets a job, one of the fastest-growing industries is healthcare. so i don't support a voucher. i think it's the wrong thing to do and can you imagine rural alaska if that's all you had was one school? it doesn't make sense, it's wrong. >> i'm not going to take a shot at mark. but my family, my entire family history, is nothing but public education. we have not sent any of our kids to private education. mark has and i don't blame him
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because as a parent you want to have the best possible education for your child. so what i want for all alaskan children is the best possible education, and i believe that public school choice first is important, meaning we have a situation in alaska right now that we have public moneys going to private education as part of the vendor process for public home schools. we have private individuals that get paid through the allotment process to help educate kids in our public schools. we already have this process going on. what started this conversation several years ago is i ran a bill called sjr9 which would make it legitimate to do that in the face of the sheldon jackson case in 1976. we're a little bit out of whack with the constitution, but my goal is to make sure we have the best public educational program for all kids but make sure we have private public partnerships so that we can make this the best public education system. >> all right, thank you. healthcare is on the list of questions alaskans wanted to ask about.
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>> my name is barbara. and i'm wondering whether you would be considering cutting the funding for medicare and medicaid if you were elected governor. >> so i'll paraphrase for you. i'm sorry that you could not hear that question. her question was whether you would be considering cutting the funding for medicare and medicaid if you were elected governor and, of course, governors cannot affect the cost of medicare, but you can affect medicaid. would you repeal the medicaid expansion, and if so, how would the 44,000 people who have received coverage under it access healthcare? mr. dunleavy, your answer. >> my first order of business would be to assess the status of our medicaid program. in other words, the management issues again. we have reports that we've overpaid providers anywhere from 78 to $168 million that we're
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going to have to claw back or receive penalties from the federal government so the first thing i would want to do is make sure those programs are being run well. i have no intention of kicking people off of healthcare. i think all alaskans should have access to good-quality healthcare, but once again we need to manage these programs well. we need to take a look at how these programs are being implemented. you read the paper, you see news clippings, news articles of fraud in alaska. our behavioral health approach is falling apart because of mismanagement in alaska. we need to manage these programs better, but i don't have any intention of kicking people off our healthcare programs. >> all right, mr. begich. mr. begich: i just heard mike your response. you didn't support governor walker when he put it on and put 44,000 people onto medicaid. he had to do it by executive order because members like you and others in the legislature wouldn't support it. so, and i know on this debate you've had different views on this but no, i think medicaid is an important part of making sure healthcare is available for alaskans.
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there's a lot of working families that depend on that to make sure they have the healthcare they need, to ensure that they can go to work or go to school or whatever they're doing to make their life more productive and the medicaid program has been very successful, but we can improve it. for example, there's not a good preventive healthcare within the medicaid system. if you could save 5% just on better preventive healthcare you'll save almost $40 million on the program. i also think there's another way. streamlining that paperwork. 30% of the costs, $240 million is in paperwork alone. i think there's ways to save 10%-15% of that. making sure we have better dollars being spent and ensuring we have quality care. it's provided an incredible amount of jobs and $1 billion of federal dollars into our state providing new opportunities for our healthcare. one of the topics, the topic of climate change. researchers have said that the arctic is warming at least twice as fast as other places in the world. as a state whose economy is reliant on fossil fuels, how do
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you balance that with the need to reduce carbon emissions and let's go to mr. begich first. mr. begich: i think it is balanced. i supported helping open up arctic for oil and gas drilling, npra. at the same time, for example, when i was mayor, we got very aggressive. we had the largest light conversion project in the nation, converting our street lights to more efficient lights, saving $400,000 a year. a project now that we have out at the landfill. it used to be we would burn off the methane gas. now, it's recaptured, sold to the military cheaper than they can buy natural gas. i think alaska has some incredible opportunities when you look around between wind and tidal and geothermal. all the opportunities to lower our emissions in our state. we have a goal by 2025 to be 50% renewable energy. i believe we can get there. i was just in kodiak, an amazing 99% of their energy sources are renewable energy, not putting emissions into the air. that's how we have to do it.
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do our part, but at the same time, recognize who we are as a state. >> mr. dunleavy what's your response? mr. dunlevy: so we are a resource state and i do support our oil, gas and our coal industries. it brings jobs, it brings wealth and it brings revenue to alaska. you know, we have to make sure that we have a balance as was said. we can't throw people out of work by shutting down some of these industries. alaska is not really a smokestack state. our contribution to climate change is probably minimal. so i think what we need to really focus on is making sure that we have alaskans going to work. we make sure that we use technology when we can to reduce emissions, but in the long haul, alaska's contribution to climate change once again is minimal. >> rich has a follow-up. >> i would like to ask both of you again, both candidates, because i think you've both said that we've got to develop fossil fuel resources.
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you say, mr. dunleavy, you say that we can't afford to be the leader. we're negligible, but so is brazil and so are other countries and still we're asking them to join in taking steps to abate climate change. how could alaska not, with its fossil fuel development, how could we not participate in this as well? mr. dunlevy: i beg to differ. brazil has millions and millions and millions of people and they do have many, many factories emitting emissions into the air. alaska has 730,000 people. our industries are resource-based, resource extraction. we extract oil. we extract coal. we extract gas. that's what we do in alaska. that's where we get most of our revenue, that's where we create most of our wealth so i disagree we are not like brazil. we're not like china. we're not like other states in
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the lower 48. our contribution is negligible. mr. begich: well, we all have to do our part, and i think we can have a careful balance as i laid out. for example, when you think of the impacts, we're ground zero when it comes to climate change. when you see acidification of the waters and warming the waters that impact our fisheries, when you look at the spruce beetle, and the impacts of our forestry. we can do our part. if we can meet our goal of 50% by 2025, the contribution to this broader spectrum, plus, it's good business. people are now building solar opportunities, building wind turbines, there is a great opportunity to take advantage of this and be a much more efficient state. >> we'll have to leave it there. let's move on to other voter choices, along with deciding which one of you will be the next governor. alaskans will also be voting on another big issue, ballot measure 1. supporters say it would protect vital habitat. -- habitats.
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opponents argue it would bring resource development and construction projects to a halt. how are you going to vote on ballot measure 1 and if elected governor, how would you balance protecting alaskan salmon resources with industry and development? mr. begich. mr. begich: well, i'm voting yes on 1, but i believe that 40,000 people that decided to put it on the ballot, i believe in public comment and opportunity for people to have an opportunity to tell the public and tell in our case the government what they think is wrong when there's a permit being issued. one of the few that doesn't allow public comment on. but put that aside, your question on the larger thing, how do you balance these things? what i've done all my life, an example i gave earlier about the arctic drilling and working on the npra to make sure it's open and available which is putting oil in our pipeline. you have to balance it carefully. working with all sides, bringing all stakeholders together. this is an important part of the politics of today. it's so toxic as i mentioned in my opening. we have to bring it back, bring people together, i don't care if they're democrats, republicans, independents figure this out together.
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if we don't do this right at the end of the day it will harm us economically long-term. it's why i didn't support out in bristol bay when they wanted to do drilling out there and pebble mine, but i support other mines. it's a balanced approach based on the conditions around them and bringing stakeholders together. >> all right, mr. dunleavy. mr. dunlevy: thank you. i'm a no. i'm a no on 1. i think it's overkill. i believe it will shut down a lot of projects in the state of alaska and i'm not just talking about oil or gas or coil, but municipal water and sewer projects, potential road projects and the problem with this is it's going to constrain our ability to develop our state which translates into less jobs, more folks on some of our social service programs. it will be problematic for alaska going forward. it will cause investors to shy away from alaska. i think it's overkill. it's too broad. i think we could deal with some of these issues if we need to, but i think it's bad for alaska. >> thank you. >> andrew has a question.
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>> both candidates. beyond ballot measure 1, salmon runs have been declining in some parts of the state. there are different interests, commercial, sport, subsistence. what would you prioritize in managing alaska's fisheries? >> mr. begich. mr. begich: well, i think you all are part of the process. in the senate we dealt with all three of those, in terms of sports fishermen. we brought those other two sports and subsistence into the process. but i think it's a balanced approach. they're all important to our economy in different ways, but subsistence is very important to rural alaska because without their ability to catch their fish, they cannot feed their family and that's an important priority for me. >> mr. dunleavy. mr. dunlevy: thank you, feeding one's family is the most important use of our fish and game. the constitution calls us for managing abundance and maximum use for our citizens.
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with that said, we have to bring all the users together to make sure that we come up with an approach that's going to grow the resource so we can have consistent robust runs of salmon throughout the state. working together with subsistence users, exports fishermen, commercial fishermen, i think we can lay out a plan to get us there, but certainly in times of shortage, putting food on the plate is number 1. >> all right, thank you, gentlemen. you've both touched on this topic earlier. we're talking about crime. it has alaskans very worried. the increase in crime across the state beyond calling for more troopers and other officers, what would you specifically do as governor to rein in crime related to drugs and addiction? let's start with mr. dunleavy. mr. dunlevy: i would increase the penalties on those that are dealing drugs in the state of alaska. i would be pretty harsh with those individuals if they're going to deal death to our citizens. the opiate crisis is out of control. i would work with the federal government, interdiction. we have the coastline that's bigger than the rest of the lower 48 put together. i would work with the federal government on potentially prosecuting some of these
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individuals because they have stiffer penalties at this point. looking at the enforcement side, we need to get tougher on these folks that are dealing death. we also need to make sure that we do have programs that help folks get off of this addiction if they truly want to get off it and we have to make sure those programs are research based and actually work, but they would be at least two approaches that i would use to deal with the opiate issue. >> crime related to drugs and addiction? mr. begich: you bet. it's definitely a major problem. it's the number one issue i hear throughout alaska traveling and listening to what alaskans care about. a couple of things you can do. i had to deal with this in anchorage, you have to still fill the trooper positions butt you can go a couple of steps -- but you can go a couple of steps further. for example, like i did. i hired two prosecutors to work directly in the federal prosecution office with the u.s. attorney's office. why? because when you deal with drug dealers through that process, they get 10 years mandatory, shipped out of state with no probation.
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you can work with the postal system to make sure we bring in troopers with drug sniffing dogs, enormous amount of drugs can move through our postal system. they don't have the resources so we will add our resources to make sure you can move 30%, 40% less drugs through the system if you have the right kind of enforcement. we also have to deal with addiction issues. 80% of our folks in corrections need the treatment necessary, those that want to have it. wellness courts are another great investment. i've seen the turn-around, 90% of the people who go through wellness courts do not reoffend. it's the right kind of investment to have a long-term impact. >> andrew has a follow-up. >> medicaid funds a lot of behavioral health and addiction treatment, it's an optional service. will you commit to maintaining this service? for both of you? >> mr. begich. mr. begich: yes, but i would do a couple more quick things. if you are let out of prison and let's say you're dealing with the drug treatment program in prison, the drug that you're utilizing uses about 28 days,
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-- lasts about 28 days, but you've got to get on medicaid, 30 days later. both of these programs are run by the state. you don't want that person after 28 days to come off a high. i've seen it and if they get out of there high they're going to go right back in on the street. we need to make sure their treatments continue, medicaid is part of that equation so i would make sure they are taken care of on medicaid. >> we'll have to leave it there. mr. dunleavy. mr. dunlevy: i think the question, please repeat it? >> medicaid funds behavioral health treatment including addiction treatment. it's an optional service. would you commit to maintaining the service? mr. dunlevy: we would continue to take a look at that program to make sure it's being implemented and managed correctly to help the individuals that are utilizing that program. so once again, i have no intention at this time of eliminating any of these programs, managing them better. >> all right, thank you, gentlemen and we do want to ask on the crime topic, do you repeal it completely, do you fix it? mr. dunleavy? mr. dunlevy: i would repeal it. a lot of the fixes have already been moved into sb 54, a
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subsequent bill to 91, but i would repeal it because the people of alaska have lost trust in this bill. and i believe that we can do better. i believe that we can fill in the holes that are in 91. and again, restore that trust with the people of alaska. >> mr. begich. mr. begich: it's amazing on this issue of sb 91, people who passed it, mr. dunleavy was for it and now, he's against it. i get it, but here's the issue with 91. you do have to clear the deck. it's a bigger issue than just that. as i mentioned earlier, you've got to put more public safety on the street, deal with corrections and give them the resources they need. you have to make sure reentry programs are funded appropriately to make sure when people come out of prison that they have the opportunity to move in the right track. we also have to invest, as i said, earlier in the right court system. our court system today, 67% of the people going through the system reoffend. through the wellness programs and the wellness court, 90% do not reoffend. it's putting an investment in the right place. that's what we need to be doing in regards to our corrections issues.
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>> all right, thank you, mr. begich. it's time now we're going to take a pause. we've been asking the questions. we're going to let the candidates ask questions of each other and i believe mr. begich you're first in this round. >> 30 seconds. >> i want to go back to an issue we talked earlier about in regards to education and i had asked a question about do you support vouchers or not. i heard your explanation, mike, but the question is religious schools and other types of schools like that, not home schools, religious schools, are you for a voucher program as you presented a bill on this, are you for that? >> let me clarify. i never presented a bill on a voucher program. it was a constitutional amendment to allow public moneys to go to private education, but there was no bill. this would have clarified what we currently do as mentioned earlier because of the sheldon jackson case, but am i open to school choice for individuals? am i open to school choice for families so they can have the best outcomes possible? yes, i am.
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>> this is a clear difference between myself and mike. as i said, earlier public education is a foundation of a great community, a great state in the sense of growing our economy and making sure every child no matter who they are has the opportunity. when you think of rural alaska where they have just one school, for example, and you hand them a voucher, where are they going to go? there's no sense out there. -- no choice out there. public education is the best investment we can make. i'm supportive of public education, i want to put the money in the constitution to make sure it's protected so ewe see it in the future. >> and quick rebuttal. >> again, mr. begich sends his child to a private school. i spent 19 years in rural alaska helping individuals' children in some of our smallest communities. i am 100% committed to making sure that we have the best public education in this country. >> mr. dunleavy your turn, what's your question for mr. begich? mr. dunlevy: mark, governor walker dropped out of race after days of negotiations with you and your campaign. now, he's endorsed you as the best candidate to continue his policies and legacy.
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what policies are part of walker's legacy will you continue? will it be record unemployment, high crime, a bloated budget or are all of the above? -- or all of the above? mr. begich: governor walker put alaska first, i give him credit for that. he thought about the future as you heard his speech that he gave. medicaid expansion, i'll continue it because i think it makes a difference for 44,000 alaskans. i'm going to continue the pipeline issue, it's on the 10-yard line of the opponent. we have an opportunity to push that over the line. make sure that we have jobs for the future and opportunities. his work that he's done with tribal communities all across the state has engaged tribal communities for the first time in our alaska government, give them a voice that they did not have before. will i continue that? yes, i will. we need to declare a disaster when it comes to our opioid crisis as we have talked already about crime. you betcha i'll make sure. i'll tell you you were in the legislature as unemployment went up, when crime went up waft cuts
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-- because of the cuts you did, because you spent the time cutting those budgets and that's why we are where we are today. >> mr. dunleavy. >> crime did not go up because of the legislature. crime went up because of mismanagement over the past three to four years in the current administration. management is the key to making sure that we have the focus, we're going to put the focus on public safety as job number one. not all budgetary items are equal. you cannot compare a fast rail study to having more troopers. under my administration and again, the troopers endorsed me, under my administration, public safety will be job 1. >> our state has the dubious distinction of having the highest rates in the nation in sexual assaults, domestic violence and suicide. why do you think alaska is always at the top of these lists and as governor, what can you do about it? mr. dunleavy. mr. dunlevy: so i'm a father of three daughters. i live in rural alaska. my wife is from alaska. i take this issue very seriously. i think as a governor, once again, you make this a priority,
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not just in statement, but all the way through your administration, you make sure that we have folks in place that are experts in this area, that we can develop the laws and approaches to make sure that all individuals, women and men, are protected, and that we make sexual assault the number one issue. we'll make sure that our rape kits, which we have a back log of rape kits, for example, are processed quickly. we'll make sure that we have the requisite number of troopers all over the state of alaska. making sure that we have the policing that we need and also making sure that we have the prosecuting attorneys to prosecute these cases is critical to making sure that sexual assault is eliminated in the state of alaska. >> all right, thank you. mr. begich? mr. begich: i think there's several things you can do in regards to sexual assault, suicide and many issues you brought up. one piece of this puzzle is substance abuse and making sure we do everything we can to change that dialogue in regards to how we deal with people who have substance abuse issues.
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but along with that, i was just with a group of young people. every group i've met with brings up the issue of suicide. one of the things that's no longer really available in our school system is making sure we have counselors, not academic counselors, but there to help young people. also, i've seen young peer groups working together, helping their friends and others understand if they see signs of people that may be in that situation, what they can do to help them. we're also seeing another increase of individuals, young people, being shipped out of state because we don't have enough facilities here to take care of our youth when it comes to mental health issues, substance abuse and others. we need to put the investment in that makes a difference long term. these are some of the things that i would do. >> thank you, gentlemen. let's talk about resource development now, protecting the environment. both of you have expressed support for drilling in anwar, but the people there are extremely concerned about the potential effect on caribou. how would you address their concern and balance development with environmental protection, mr. begich you're first.
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mr. begich: i would use the same effort i did when i was in the senate working on the issue of the arctic development. at that time, the obama administration did not support it. there was a lot of challenges with people on the shores in the villages, but we engaged the whaling captains, the individual leadership throughout the communities. you have to engage all the stakeholders at the same time. just like we did on npra when we sat down with the villages also being impacted and we had a lot of issues with a very sensitive lake there and herd habitat. you find a balance, but you bring everyone to the table. this is the biggest thing that's amazing in politics today. it's always this side or that side instead of saying we're going to do this right for alaska. we're going to sit down together, we're going to figure out this problem because at the end of the day we're all here for a reason, because this great state we live in. it is sitting down with the different partners and the stakeholders, trying to resolve the issues that are in front of us. i have done it, i've seen the outcome. >> mr. dunleavy? mr. dunlevy: we have some of the
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most stringent regulations on the planet when it comes to developing our resources. we just continue to apply those regulations properly, we'll reduce the possibility of any type of oil spill or accident on the slope. so looking at what we've done on the slope over the past 40 years, i think we have a pretty good track record, and i think we rely on those regulations. >> all right, thank you. turning to the long sought after gas line, are you more concerned about the risk the state will take on by taking the lead in building it? or, are you more concerned about the risk it will never be developed at all, if the state doesn't take the lead? mr. dunleavy? mr. dunlevy: this is a very good question. this question comes up in a lot of the forums and discussions with folks across alaska. we don't have the access to the confidentiality agreements to really understand where this project is. we don't know how much the gas is going to be sold for at the wellhead by the producers, we're not sure what the contracts are with the asian companies that countries that are
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contemplating contracting with agdc. we don't know what the cost is in between, in terms of the infrastructure itself. until we get in there and take a look at those confidentiality agreements, it's difficult to say if this is a project that will return a dollar to alaska or if this is a project that will be a boondoggle for alaska. it's crucial to get into those confidentiality agreements before you can really answer these question. >> mr. begich. mr. begich: i think on the pipeline, as i said, earlier, there is issues that we don't know about, but you've got to look at the project. governor walker has brought it this far. my belief is we need to continue to push forward. we have to manage it correctly. we need to make sure that we have the markets to ensure that the gas can be sold, but not having all of those early dollars, it's hard to figure out what the financial piece is, but i do believe that this is a project. it's been since i was born we've been talking about this project. we are on the 10-yard line of the opponent. let's push it over the goal line and when we get over the goal line, we'll know if it's fiscal responsible in the sense of what we can do with it, but it has a huge potential to create jobs for alaska one monetize our gas
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alaska, monetize our gas and make sure we have a project that can go forward. >> gentlemen, thank you. big picture question. what is alaska's number one problem during the next five to 10 years? what as governor would you do to address it? mr. begich. mr. begich: the first thing we have to do is deal with the budget as we talked about, but the number one issue is crime. there's no question. as a matter of fact, on my way here i thought i was going to be late because i stopped a fight in the middle of 13th and gamble because of an incident that happened there. crime is a problem. it doesn't matter where you live, who you are, you're impacted by it. we have to have a strong strategic plan. i've put it on my website, i would encourage people to go to it. we've got to bring all the commissioners together that deal with health and human services, the law, public safety, corrections. put them together to figure out what we can do to move forward. we need to be tougher with our issues in regards to drug dealers out there as i mentioned earlier today, but we have to recognize that this issue does not go away overnight. we have to work double time because i do not want to have people thinking about if they
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walk out of their home, is their car still there or in our case with our 16-year-old, what's he out in the streets and what's going on out there? this is i think the number one issue. along with the budget you have to deal with, but long term this is how you create a safer community. >> mr. dunleavy? mr. dunlevy: it's absolutely public safety. that's the primary purpose of a state, any government to provide safety for its citizens. the last four years, we've all changed our behaviors. i don't think there's any of us that has not been impacted by crime, either directly or indirectly. i know, for example, we didn't know where the keys were to our home for 13 years. we would go on vacations without locking the doors. we change the locks on our doors, we take the keys out of our car, we have an extra dog, we keep the lights on and when we come into anchorage or, it's changed our lives. we've got to get a handle on this. this has to be job number 1 for the next governor. >> we have a couple of lightning round questions, and please keep your responses to 15 seconds or
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less, and a simple yes or no will do for these. do you support expanding vote by mail statewide like we do here in anchorage? mr. dunleavy first. mr. dunlevy: not at this stage of the game. i want to take a look at it and make sure we wring out any of the errors or possible mistakes that could be made in that process. >> mr. begich, vote by mail? mr. begich: absolutely. we saw the impact here in anchorage, when the april vote occurred. 80,000 people turned out. record number and most importantly, some of the most disenfranchised neighborhoods voted more than ever before. this is the right way. make it easier, give people the right to vote and vote by mail works across this country in the states that are doing it. >> do you believe that voter fraud is a problem that affects election outcomes? mr. begich? mr. begich: on vote by mail? >> just generally. mr. begich: you know, we've seen very little in our state. we've seen some recently that definitely needs to be looked at, investigated but over our time at the state dealing with elections, very minimal at all
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-- so we have a great system and vote by mail has worked many places across the state. >> voter fraud a problem? mr. dunlevy: my family got a ballot to vote in the anchorage elections. there are bugs in the system that need to be worked out. in terms of fraud, you have an issue here in one of the districts, house districts in anchorage that's being looked at. is there potential for fraud? of course, there is. >> gentlemen, thank you so much. we have come to near the end of our debate. it's time for closing statements. we're going to get one minute from each candidate. we had a second coin toss. mr. dunleavy goes first. mr. dunlevy: thank you and to the people of alaska, thanks for this opportunity tonight. we're getting ready for a change. you're going to have a new governor come november 6th. i would like to be that governor. i want to make sure that when i am governor, that we look at the issues that we've talked about tonight and not just talk about them, but make sure we put them into action. public safety has got to be job number one for the state of alaska for the next governor. we've got to make this the safest state in the country. sexual assault, theft, opiates, we've heard the stories, we've read the stories.
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we've got to get a handle on this situation. as governor, i'll take care of that. we have to make sure we restore trust in the people of alaska in their government. returning the pfd to its former calculation, its full calculation will also be one of the primary things i do as governor. we have to make sure that we have better educational outcomes for alaskans. you have a choice. you can look at the future, put somebody there who you trust and who's not a career politician, and we can move alaska forward together. >> mr. dunleavy, thank you. mr. begich, your closing statement. mr. begich: thank you to all the folks viewing and listening to this debate tonight. hopefully, you'll see some differences between someone like myself, who's given very specific ideas on how we move alaska forward. we have great challenges in education, public safety, making sure we're no longer the number one when it comes to unemployment. providing opportunities for young people. you know, i traveled, as i said, earlier around the state, listening and talking to people. i see the hopes and dreams of individuals, but they're wondering what's their future look like? they see the dream of alaska slipping away, but i don't.
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i believe in what's possible. i can't believe it every single day. i wake up thinking about what we can do to make this state a better place and i know alaskans think the same thing as i talk to them. they believe in what's possible. this election is about the future. it's about who will take us to the next 15, 20, 30 years and beyond for the next generation. i would love to be your governor. i look forward to your help and support. thank you very much. >> thank you, gentlemen. that concludes this evening's debate for the state for governor. thank you for tuning in. >> join us again tomorrow evening at 7:00 p.m. on channel 2 and alaska public media for the debate between the u.s. house candidates don young and elise galvin. thanks so much for tuning in. have a good evening. ♪ [video clip] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit]
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>> with the midterm elections just days away, watch the competition for the control of congress on c-span. see for yourself, the candidates and the debates on key house and senate races. make c-span your primary source for campaign 2018. live tuesday, on the c-span networks, at 10:30 a.m. eastern, vice president mike pence joins politico for a conversation. later at 5:30 p.m., defense secretary james mattis speaks at the u.s. institute of these about the national defense chatterjee. at 7 p.m., we are like from indianapolis for the indiana senate debate between incumbent john donnelly and his republican and libertarian opponents. on c-span2 at 9 a.m., a public
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hearing on some -- proposed changes to the code of conduct for u.s. judges. c-span's washington journal, live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up tuesday morning, newsletter is a founder and ceo alan miller discusses misinformation and campaign 2018. then, jean of iona college, talks about the political dynamics of new york. 50 capitalc-span's store an interview with new york lieutenant governor kathy on the topic shoes -- top issues facing new york. mitchard to watch washington journal -- make sure to watch washington journal. join the discussion. >> new york times best selling author jodi picot is our guest on in-depth, fiction addition. on sunday, at noon eastern.
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foremost restart that her most recent book is a spark of light. she has also written 20 more novels and wonder woman comic book series 40 sikkim. -- four d.c. comics. watch in-depth fiction addition when author brad meltzer will be our guest. >> next, the north dakota senate debate between incumbent heidi heitkamp and republican overspent kevin cramer. this is the last of three debates between the candidates. healthics include the care law, immigration policy, and veterans issues. the hour-long debate is courtesy of wda why in fargo. -- wday and fargo. -- in fargo. ♪ >>


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