Occupation: 1977-present, rancher on family ranch in Livingston.
Family: Wife, Laurie, of 35 years. Two daughters, Jodi, 23, and Katie, 23.
Education: Bachelor's of science in agriculture education, 1975, Montana State University.
Past employment: 1975-1977, agriculture teacher, Scobey High in Scobey. 1977-1988, agriculture teacher, Park High in Livingston.
Political experience: Arrowhead School Board in Paradise Valley.
Facebook account: Alan Redfield for House District 61.
Address: 538 Mill Creek Road; Livingston, MT 59047.
Phone number: 406-333-4353.
The energy boom in Eastern Montana has benefited the entire state with jobs and revenue from oil taxes, but the rapid growth is also overwhelming communities like Sidney, where the local government expects to fall $47.7 million short of paying for growth-related costs like increased public safety, sewer, water and road improvements, to name a few. The region's schools are also overwhelmed, and the drumbeat for skilled workers is constant.
What should the 2013 Legislature do, if anything, to help the region and its communities deal with impacts/effects of the energy boom?
To solve many of the problems associated with these issues, the communities most affected by the growth must be the driving force behind the solution. The Legislature's role would be to assist the community in the effective use of tax revenues. One step would be to allow these communities to be able to use revenue from energy impacts for capital expenditures such as major infrastructure needs. A second step is to keep more of the revenue within the impacted communities instead of dividing it with the rest of the state.
The 2013 Legislature will consider a plan to award more state funding to Montana school districts that meet "well-defined performance goals and objectives," while cutting state funding as a way of penalizing underperforming school districts. The performance goals would be defined by the 2013 Legislature, as well, but are sure to address Montana's 25 percent dropout rate and the 30 percent of in-state college students who need remedial math courses.
Should the state play a role in regulating public school performance? If so, what performance goals would you set?
The state's role in regulating school performance should be minimal, as broad "one-size-fits-all" criteria fails to account for differences between districts. For example, if a district is underprivileged, students may not perform as well as students in wealthier districts. This does not mean the underprivileged district should be penalized. In fact, withdrawing funds makes the situation worse. The state needs to implement policies that not only recognize, but meet the individual needs of schools.
Name an issue important to your district and explain what you will do to address it.
Wildlife management is an issue affecting both agriculture and the economy in my district. The failure to manage predators has created a chain reaction where elk numbers are dramatically decreasing, and, at the same time, they also are changing their migration patterns. Elk are pushed onto private land, thereby increasing property damage and disease transmission. We need to put into place more liberal rules for hunting and trapping wolves and mountain lions. We will need a plan in place to keep control as the grizzly bears expand their range.
Several tax cuts will likely be considered by the 2013 Legislature, including eliminating the business equipment property tax (a $91.9 million revenue reduction) and the corporate income tax (an $87.9 million revenue reduction). Explain your reasons for supporting or opposing these cuts, or suggest another cut or increase. Whichever you choose, explain the government action needed to pay for your decision.
Our major industries that provide good-paying jobs require a major investment in business equipment. I support the 2011 Legislature's plan that cut 30 percent of the business equipment tax. When the Montana economy meets designated benchmarks, another cut is triggered, and the tax reduces again. This plan is designed to phase out the tax by offsetting the loss with revenue generated by the improved economy. The plan makes Montana more business-friendly and sets the state on track for economic improvement.
The Commissioner of Political Practices Office, the state's watchdog for campaigns, lobbyists and political action committees, is being criticized by lawmakers for the way its administrator is selected by the governor, whom the appointee then regulates. But there are other issues, namely that complaints filed during an election year often aren't resolved until after the victor's political term has expired. Penalties issued by the commissioner rarely, if ever, curtail campaign shenanigans.
What changes as a lawmaker would you support to make Political Practices more effective?
The commissioner of Political Practices position should be eliminated and replaced with a bipartisan board. The board should consist of two legislators from each party, making the board objective. Staff would refer cases to the board with the understanding that they would be handled in an expedient manner. If found guilty by the board, the offending party would resign and a new person be appointed.