FAIRBANKS, Alaska - The Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce hosted the Borough Mayoral Candidate Forum Tuesday. Chamber members heard comments from each of the four candidates, which include North Pole Mayor Bryce Ward, Assemblyman Christopher Quist, former Assembly woman Nadine Winters, and Robert Shields. The candidates were allotted between 30 and 45 seconds to answer questions asked by each other as well as the public. Each candidate shared their feelings about the Home Heating Reclamation Act that will be on the ballots October 2nd.
"I think we need to start looking at other solutions. I think there are other sources of pollution that we are not even addressing because everybody is so focused on the wood burners and the wood stoves and I think that is a serious issue, that we need to be looking at other sources because this is really just about people being able to heat their homes in the winter time. If they have other viable alternatives, they are willing to explore them. I have seen a lot of great conversations
from conservative members of this communities." Robert Shields said.
Mayor Bryce Ward said, "I think it's important to our community not only to our economy that we continue to maintain control on a local level. That gives us an ability to do things such as what has been in the paper this morning for the E-S-P's and look at alternative options on how we can use technology to really set the stage to be able to clean up our air and really be able to set the stage for the world on how we can do that in other ways. And still be able to heat our homes."
"We have to fix it. We have to fix it. I know lately there has been some discussion that perhaps the clean air act will get amended and somehow magically exempt Fairbanks and that's not going to happen. It's going to be difficult but we have to do it, we have to do it. And it's not going to be easy, I think if there were easy solutions, those control measures would already be instant and we would be good to go. So
we have to fix it for both quality of life and economic reasons." Nadine Winters answered.
Assemblyman Christopher Quist explained, "It removes the boroughs ability to address this critical problem and all it does is invite control from the State and DEC, who doesn't have citation power, who's under resourced, the problem won't get addressed that way, and then it invites further overreach from the federal government and sanctions, sanctions that are hard to imagine the impact that they would have on this community. Loss of federal highway funding, and two to one offsets. It would be devastating. A vote yes is a vote to remove local control, a vote no allows the borough to address this problem on a local level."