Paper asks candidates about reform of Alaska Native contracts
The Fairbanks Daily News Miner asked the candidates for the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House about proposed reforms in the federal contracting program for Alaska Native corporations. Here are the responses from the major party candidates.

Senate candidate Lisa MurkowskI (R): "I support the 8(a) program, and the Native American enhancements to the program, provided that the government pays a fair price for the goods or services it procures noncompetitively, the 8(a) participant performs the contract effectively, delivering to the government what is promised, and the profits generated from the contract provide meaningful benefits to the socially and economically disadvantaged community."

Senate candidate Joe Miller (R): "There is need for reform. Section 8(a) under the Small Business Act (SBA) is intended to foster business ownership for "individuals who are socially and economically disadvantaged." The program is also designed to "promote the competitive viability" of these firms by "providing contract, technical, and management assistance." But awarding “no bid” contracts is simply wrong, whether the recipient is Native or Non-Native. Instead, 8(a) contracts should be about promoting quality work, competitiveness and opportunities. Furthermore, rather than awarding no bid contracts that fail to provide incentives to increase competitiveness, any reform of 8(a) should refocus attention to its stated mission by providing training, education and infrastructure support. Most importantly, these contracts should include high standards for increased participation and job opportunities for Alaska Native shareholders."

Senate candidate Scott McAdams (D): "I support the 8(a) contracting program and believe it to be an important economic development tool for Alaska Native corporations and the diversification of their work. Alaska Native corporations have helped accelerate the development of Alaska communities by decades. I will work to strengthen this program and ensure that any changes come from participants, not misguided outside interests."

House candidate Don Young (R): "No. ANCs should not be compared to individually owned small businesses since ANCs represent many disadvantaged individuals within a community. The federal government chooses sole-source contracts because they can be issued quickly and work can get done faster. ANCs fulfill the need of the federal government, oftentimes the military, to quickly complete projects."

House candidate Harry Crawford (D): "Federal rules for 8(a) contracting have come under increased scrutiny and some criticism. Native corporations have undertaken reform suggestions to limit the size of contracts and make them more accountable and transparent. These programs have done much good and should be adapted so they can continue into the 21st Century."

Get the Story:
U.S. Senate - Lisa Murkowski (The Fairbanks Daily News Miner 10/26)
U.S. Senate - Joe Miller (The Fairbanks Daily News Miner 10/26)
U.S. Senate - Scott McAdams (The Fairbanks Daily News Miner 10/26)
U.S. House - Don Young (The Fairbanks Daily News Miner 10/26)
U.S. House - Harry Crawford (The Fairbanks Daily News Miner 10/26)

Related Stories:
Paper asks candidates about Native 8(a) government contracts (10/22)