Candidates vying for State House discuss university funding, sexual education

FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Candidates vying for State House District 4 answered questions from the Associated Students of the University of Alaska Fairbanks at a forum on Wednesday night. The student organization asked District 4 candidates what their views are on the current state of the university's funding.

Candidate Grier Hopkins said, "I want to find ways to really make sure that the institution here gets the funding it deserves, and it needs to build and maintain its status as a world class institution when we are looking at climate change, arctic policy, things that nobody else in the world can look at that we can here in Fairbanks."

Candidate Tim Lamkin said, "That was me that mentioned about currently flat funding is probably the most realistic goal that the university should have given our current budget climate. No one is going to get increased funding, or it is not likely until we fix our overall budget problems that we are facing right now."

Candidate Jim Sackett said, "We've got a board of regents, we've got really good folks in leadership, we shouldn't be trying to second guess them, micromanage them, if that's what they think they need, then those are recommendations that I would lean on."

Quoting the high levels of sexually transmitted infections in Alaska, the candidates were asked how they feel about instituting sex education in our schools.

Sackett said, "Educating students on how to protect themselves would be fine. What they should do and when they should do it, I think lies outside the purview of the school system."

Lamkin said, "I think that it's important to have that education, but there also needs to be the freedom to opt students out if parents chose to believe that they have their own program that they feel is more appropriate for their child."

Hopkins said, "Parents should have the opportunity to opt out if they want, but I believe that the natural state of this situation should be that we teach our students what sex is, how to be protected, what consent is. It needs to be taught in our schools as well and that is not currently taught."

These candidates will face each other on November 6 in the General Election.