State House District Candidates Listen to West Valley High School Students Issues, Concerns

By  | 

FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Students at West Valley High School had a chance to ask State House District candidates questions regarding issues they care about.

State House District 1 candidate, Kathryn Dodge said, "You guys have raised some really amazing and difficult issues and I appreciate that. I'm sorry they are issues that are a part of our culture and our life right now."

West Valley High School students asked State House District 1, 4 and 5, candidates thoughtfully crafted questions that often came with personal stories.

One student said, "A friend of mine was raped by her babysitter and conceived. The resources for victims who can't speak up are being threatened. The ability for an 11-year-old to get an abortion, for a child she had no choice in conceiving is being threatened."

The student asked the candidates if they would protect the funding for Planned Parenthood and support resources so that girls of all ages can make a choice for their futures.

Candidate Bart LeBon said, "I believe we've turned the corner on that as a society. We're willing to listen now and give greater attention to that type of abusive behavior, and I'm optimistic that in a few years we will have turned the corner as a society and start to reduce that type of incident."

Dodge said, "Yes, you can count on me to protect funding and support the resources for Planned Parenthood, and second, Alaska has a constitutional right to privacy. It's not up to politicians to decide what healthcare is right for a young girl or woman. It's between them and their doctor."

Another topic discussed was whether transgender people should be able to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with.

Another student asked, "Do you find it acceptable that students and adults use the public restroom that they are comfortable with?"

Candidate Grier Hopkins said, "I believe that people should have the ability to use the restroom that they identify with and are comfortable with. That's going to be the right side of history as we move forward."

Candidate Tim Lamkin said, "This is about self-identity guys. It's about respect, tolerance, decency and grace, and frankly at the end of the day, it's simply just about going pee."

Another student asked what the candidates are going to do to prevent suicide in the state of Alaska.

Candidate Kevin Mckinley said, "We need to be able to give the tools to teachers, family, and friends, about how to spot somebody that is going through these times, and what to do to help those people."

Candidate Adam Wool said, "A lot of people attempt suicide, but with gun use, it's a lot higher. There's a red flag law that was introduced last session, which basically said if someone is showing violence to themselves or others, I think that's an important first step."

After a lot of heavy important topics were discussed, candidate Grier Hopkins ended on a lighter note.

"I've always wanted to do this," he said.