Paddy Notar/Turnagain Times
Timothy Carter of Girdwood is one of four candidates on the General Election ballot, Tuesday, Nov. 2, running for the Alaska U.S. Senate seat currently held by Sen. Lisa Murkowski.
By Paddy Notar
Turnagain Times Correspondent
Who is Timothy Carter? For starters, he is one of four candidates in the General Election running for the Alaska U.S. Senate seat currently held by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who lost to Republican challenger Joe Miller in the Primary Election.
Girdwood has been home to two U.S. Senators, the late Ted Stevens and Sen. Murkowski, and now it is home to Senate hopeful, Carter, who moved to Girdwood three years ago from Florida.
Carter has been coming to Alaska for the past nine years. He loves the outdoors and owns a 1954 PA14 bush plane. He flies it out of the Girdwood Airport about three times a week. It seats four and they call it a “family cruiser.” That term seems to fit the independent candidate. He’s cruising through life as happy a person as you could meet.
“I’ve been flying for 30 years, and I just love it,” Carter said during an interview at the Silvertip Bar and Grill in downtown Girdwood.
He was good friends with John Graybill and his wife, Dolly, who were tragically killed in a plane crash Aug. 12 this year while headed home to Chugiak from the McGrath area. Graybill was a well known bush pilot who served the Alaska bush community all his life.
As we talked, I was surprised how laid-back Carter is. He smiled as he shook my hand and said, “Hi, Paddy. I’m Tim. Nice to meet you.” He has a kind of southern accent that seems very pleasant and intrigues you when you hear it. You almost can’t help but smile when you hear Carter speak. He comes across as one of those “nice guys” who is always as positive as you wish you were.
I asked Carter how he got the required 3,300 signatures in order to be put on the ballot. After all, gathering a few thousand signatures is not an easy task to accomplish. The Department of Elections told him to get more than the required amount as some people don’t write down the correct information and are disqualified. Tim obliged and got 5,560.
“Democrat or Republican and $100 gets you on the ballot,” he said. “But I had to go earn my name being there.”
I asked him where he gathered all of the signatures.
“I went down to the DMV on Benson and sat there for a week,” he said laughing. “I just asked everyone I saw to sign up for me because I’m not with the Democratic party or the Republican party. I’m for the Alaska citizen’s party. I want to represent the people, not special interests.”
Carter is 70 years old and a retired Optometric Doctor who graduated from the Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, Tennessee.
“That’s why I can see things clearly,” he jested.
Carter comes across as the most sincere and positive person you could ever meet. He’s the kind of guy that makes you feel like everything is going to be okay. He even ordered a hot chocolate instead of coffee.
As for state and national issues, Carter believes in opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
“Paddy, think about it,” he said. “How long can we wait?. I don’t believe in selling the oil to China and Japan as other people have stated. I believe Alaska citizens should reap the benefits of opening up ANWR, and doing it responsibly.”
I asked him about the effects of displacing wildlife in the national refuge. After all, there are a lot of things that go into drilling for oil: Housing, roads, big equipment, water, septic systems, etc. It just isn’t about a big drill in the ground.
“Cell phone technology changes every year,” he answered. “Think about that phone you had three years ago. It’s obsolete. That’s the same way I feel with drilling in ANWR. We have the technology today to do it responsibly, and we can still respect and protect the wildlife. But I don’t want to see us sell the oil to China and Japan. It’s ours and Alaska should get its fair share.”
The death penalty and abortion are always topics where people want to know where you stand. Since Carter’s dad was an administrative analyst for the state Board of Health, in Florida, I thought it was an especially valid question.
Regarding the death penalty Tim said, “Some people deserve to die.”
Then he sat back in the chair and seemed to hesitate answering his stance on abortion. I asked again, “So are you pro-choice or pro-life?”
With his arms folded, Carter sat forward and replied, “I’m pro-stay out of people’s business.” His head nodded up and down as he smiled. It was as if he knew he was right and didn’t care what I thought. Carter is a strong and confident man. That is very obvious.
“There are two people in Alaska smarter than me,” he said. “But they don’t want to run because they don’t want to sell their souls.” It was a jab at U.S. Senate candidates Miller and Democratic candidate Scott McAdams, who Carter thinks will do nothing other than take care of special interests and ignore Alaska’s citizens.
Carter even disagrees with President Obama stating that “We need jobs not healthcare. He should have made jobs his focus not pushing healthcare on us.”
I wondered about Sen. Murkowski’s position in the race, and asked, “Can Lisa Murkowski run in your place?” After all, she might be looking for a spot to run in.
“I’m not sure,” he said. “I would never give up my position. I’m running for the Alaska citizens. They should get their fair share of everything that is harvested from this state.”
When we ended the interview, he handed me a card. It looked like an old business card that unfolded into three squares. I opened it up and it was a picture of his grandfather, Jerry Carter, who was commissioner of the Railroads and Public Utilities Commission in Florida for 34 years. He was referred to as “Mr. Democrat” and never lost an election. The card was from 1960 and it was well worn.
Carter handed it to me and asked me to read the quote his grandfather had printed on it. The quote was entitled the “Recipe for Happiness.” Here’s what it said: “Stir together honest parts of labor, courage and common sense. Put in plenty of pep and determination. Flavor with tolerance and charity. Add the milk of human kindness and forgiveness and season liberally with optimism. Stir this constantly over the hot fire of ambition keeping it boiled with enthusiasm. Be sure to skim off any discontent, pessimism, selfishness, and unfairness that may come to the surface, or a hard crust may form and spoil everything. Serve daily in generous portions to yourself and your fellow man and you will enjoy a long and happy life.”
That’s who Timothy Carter is.