Independent candidate for governor Bill Walker doesn't aspire to a lengthy political career.

Independent candidate for governor Bill Walker doesn’t aspire to a lengthy political career.

Bill Walker’s last visit to Sitka was in October. The Fairbanks independent has refined his message following the legislative session. The state’s $2-billion operating deficit has his attention, as do other issues. He stopped by KCAW last week to cover some of his talking points.

First, even though he’s an attorney with decades of interaction with the oil and gas industry, he characterizes his experience quite differently than Gov. Parnell’s.

“I’ve never received one dime of compensation from the oil industry. I’ve always represented Alaskans on our side of the table. Whether it’s the North Slope Borough, Fairbanks Northstar Borough, City and Borough of Valdez, Alaska Gasline Port Authority. It’s always been on the Alaskan side of the table. Never the other side.”

Walker calls the state’s proposed small-volume gasline a decoy to distract the public, in the hope that the big oil producers might do something. He wants the largest volume possible, and he wants it under state control. As an independent, he wants Alaskans to start acting more like owners, and less like Democrats and Republicans.

“I will dismiss gasline study hall, and we’ll get to work. It will be with Alaskans.”

Walker says he initially considered a run for the governor’s office as a Republican, but became an independent when he realized that some of his ideas might run against the grain of established party positions.

A major issue: Gov. Parnell’s decision — like many of his Republican counterparts across the country — to refuse to accept Medicaid expansion.

“But my goodness, to not accept that. I don’t think I could face the public and say why we wouldn’t accept that. Someone told me, Well, you’d have the Republican Party upset with you. I’m Republican, but I’m running as an Alaskan. I’m going to make every decision based on Alaska, and what’s best for Alaska. And it’s best for Alaska to accept that Medicaid expansion.”

Walker says he has no ambitions to be a politician; he has no plans to run for Congress. In fact, he believes many of the tough decisions he’d make to restore stability to Alaska’s finances would “guarantee that I won’t be reelected.” But, he says Alaska is broken, “like someone who’s in the ditch along the highway, and I can’t drive by them and not stop and help.”

The statewide primary election is in August. The general election will take place in November.