Tyler Ivanoff, a 4th grade teacher in Shishmaref, is once again challenging Incumbent Neal Foster for the House District 39 seat in next week’s election. Ivanoff ran against Foster in the 2020 Primary Election, narrowly losing by about 5% of the vote.

Ivanoff put his name on the ballot again this year because he wants to see more rural Alaskans in the State Legislature.

“I feel like I’m a real person that understands the people, that lives the culture and lifestyle of rural Alaska. I just believe I’d be the best candidate to voice the people’s opinion whether it be subsistence, or related to the Permanent Fund, or just making decisions for the people,” Ivanoff said.

This time around, one of Ivanoff’s biggest priorities is addressing subsistence needs, such as the recent crash of salmon stocks across Western Alaska.

“We really got to see what’s causing this problem, whether it could be climate, or bycatch. We have to get more funding for studies to address this issue,” Ivanoff said.

Ivanoff said subsistence should be the top priority in everything a legislator representing HD-39 does. He specifically mentioned the importance of studying what’s going on with the Muskox population near Shishmaref and how research and science can be used to better utilize that resource for subsistence.

Originally from Elim, where he formally served in local law enforcement, Ivanoff is very familiar with the nature of public safety in villages across the region. He says he will advocate for more training for Village Pubic Safety Officers or VPSOs as a way to improve public safety in Western Alaska.

“So I would like to see the VPSO program strengthened, because right now if a crisis happens in a community, the Troopers are the ones that investigate and are called in. And sometimes weather is a really huge factor,” Ivanoff said.

For example, State Troopers were called to respond to an area between Koyuk and Nome for a person who was overdue last month. In that instance, the Nome resident was unable to be rescued and succumbed to the elements.

In order to provide more funding to the VPSO program, and other Western Alaska needs, the state budget will have to be adjusted. Ivanoff says providing a full Permanent Fund Dividend and balancing the state budget are separate issues. Both can be achieved without taking more money from rural residents.

Overall, Ivanoff says his stance on PFDs has not changed since the 2020 election and he is not in favor of implementing a state income tax.

“I would think that before the State decides to look at a state income tax, we should look at the oil tax credits that are being paid out to oil companies,” Ivanoff said.

This year, the Legislature voted to pay out half a billion dollars in oil and gas tax credits back to drilling companies in Alaska.

Tyler Ivanoff is running as the Alaska Independence Party candidate for House District 39. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8.

Image at top: Tyler Ivanoff of Shishmaref (Nov 2022). Photo provided by Tyler Ivanoff, used with permission.

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