Meet Paul


Education Experience

Paul’s Current Educational Accomplishments:

After election to the House in 2002 I selected the Education Committee where I served as Vice-Chairman. As Education Finance subcommittee chair I pressed for a large increase in education funding which, in addition to increasing classroom dollars, was also enough to cover the retirement needs of the district. In 2010 I became the first Chair of the standing committee on Education and saw through the creation of the Alaska Performance Scholarship. I have continuously served on the various education committees from 2002 through 2016. I am the member from the House who serves on the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education legislative advisory panel.


Paul’s Educational Background

Education

      • 1963: Camarillo High School – Oxnard, CA
      • 1965: Associates of Arts – Ventura Community College, Ventura, CA
      • 1968: Bachelor of Science and teaching certificate – University of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK
      • 1969: Master of Arts in Teaching Biological Sciences – University of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK
      • 1970: Secondary education teaching certificate – CA
      • 1971: Masters of Science in Marine Zoology – San Diego State University, CA

Teaching

      • 1969: Junior High physical and biological sciences – Fairbanks, AK
      • 1970 and 1972: High School sciences – CA

Vocational Skills

      • 1978: graduated in Diesel Mechanics from the Seward Skill Center

Classroom Volunteer Projects

    • Homer High advanced biology class – halibut bycatch
    • Homer High advanced biology class – Pacific cod population structure

Making sure that our children have a solid educational foundation is a priority for me, as is providing opportunities for all Alaskans through our university system and vocational training. I very much appreciate the educational opportunities of which I have been able to take advantage.

I received my elementary and high school education in the coastal farming community of Oxnard in Southern California, which is just south of Santa Barbara.

For college, I first attended Ventura Community College for two years and earned an Associates of Arts degree in 1965. I then attended the University of California at Santa Barbara for a year, before transferring to the University of Alaska at Fairbanks in 1967. I graduated from UAF with a Bachelor of Science degree and a teaching certificate in 1968.

I had always had a keen interest in biology and enjoyed sharing that with others. In 1969 I completed a Master of Arts in Teaching the Biological Sciences degree at UAF. I also taught junior high school physical and biological sciences in Fairbanks at that time. Later in California I received a secondary education teaching certificate and taught high school sciences in 1970 and 1972.

I received a Masters of Science in Marine Zoology from San Diego State in 1971 and continued into a doctoral program in 1973 at UC Santa Barbara where I focused on crab population ecology.

However, I loved Alaska and fishing, and eventually chose a life outside of research and teaching.

I have had an appreciation for vocational skills since taking welding and forging in my second year of college. I graduated in diesel mechanics from the Seward Skill Center (now AVTEC), and received my scuba diver certification in college. I also earned a US Merchant Marine Officer License for Master of Near Coastal Motor Vessels of not more than 100 gross tons and Mate of Near Coastal Motor Vessels of not more than 200 gross tons.

I continue my education in the marine industry with related courses such as CPR, first aid, Alaska Marine Safety Education Association Drill Instructor, Hazardous Waste Operator, and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP). I participated as a member of the research committee during the formation of the Kachemak Bay Research Reserve. I continued my involvement through April 2004, serving on the Research Reserve’s Community Council and its education committee.

Today I’m what you might call a “life-long learner,” with a continuing fascination with the biological sciences. I worked with the Homer High advanced biology class on a project determining the potential halibut bycatch savings associated with the initiation of the state waters Pacific cod fishery. I also instigated another high school project which used ear bones of commercially caught Pacific cod to investigate the basic population structure of Kachemak Bay winter cod stocks.

Family

I was born and raised in the coastal farming town of Oxnard, California. I had a normal childhood with a very community-minded mother and hard-working father. I was a first baseman in Little League and later was captain of the high school tennis team. Family camping was our main outdoor activity. I was quite involved with the local gem and mineral society and was an avid rock hound. In fact, it was a 1965 summer rock hounding expedition to Alaska when I was twenty, that introduced me to the Last Frontier. I subsequently became a partner in a right-of-way tree clearing business in Anchorage, and in 1967 started drift salmon fishing in Cook Inlet. I fished out of Port Graham where I stored my boat at first, then moved the operation to Homer and Kenai.

I met my wife Tina while she was a deckhand on her relative’s boat in 1973. In 1974 we bought a 47-foot shrimp vessel in North Carolina and brought it around through the Panama Canal and up to Alaska for halibut fishing and tendering. At that time our plans were to live in Herring Pete’s old place on Nuka Island on the outer Kenai Coast.

In the end, though, we bought a house in Seward in 1975. I should clarify the word “house” as the building had been a World War II army warehouse converted into officer quarters. It was definitely an abandoned fixer-upper, but since we had prepared for remote living, anything with electricity seemed a jewel. I got an education in planning and zoning while successfully pursuing a rezoning to allow a duplex in a single-family neighborhood. Over several years we lived in one end of the house while completely renovating the other end. In 1979 we welcomed our daughter Tawny into the world.

While in Seward, I served on both the Harbor Commission and the Seward Fish and Game Advisory Committee. Without TV, Tina and I were drawn to city council meetings as an informative and recreational activity. A few days after meeting the one-year residency requirement, I ran for City Council. I missed winning a seat by about 10 votes.

In 1981 we moved to Anchor Point, off the Old Sterling Highway. We built an Alaskan house, a 40 by 60 ft. shop with a second floor house in one end. Our second child Rand was born in 1982. For the next 10 years we were heavily involved with Chapman School and the Anchor Point community. Tina served as a room mother and president of the Parent-Teacher-Student organization.

In 1993 we built a house just east of Homer in Kachemak City and moved to the shores of Kachemak Bay. I built a shop beside Northern Enterprises Boatyard to support my fishing and tendering business. Since 1975, my vessel the Georgia Straits has tendered salmon and herring from the west side of Cook Inlet. Tina became active in Girl Scouts as troop leader for our daughter. Even after Tawny went away to college, Tina continued with the scouts, eventually becoming the lower peninsula service unit manager and overseeing eleven troops. I was active in the Little League program with our son Rand and progressed from coach to manager, and as a member of the board of directors.

In 1992 I joined with a group of other community-minded citizens from across the state, most of them fishermen, to form The Alaska Marine Conservation Council (AMCC). The philosophy behind the organization is that coastal fishermen and communities are a part of our ecosystem, and that sustainable fisheries are necessary for these communities to survive. I served as the first chairman and acting executive director. AMCC has had great success in changing the debate to put sustainable fisheries at the forefront of the regulatory bodies, had a large part in establishing the state Pacific cod fishery, got the nets off the bottom in the Bering Sea Pollock fishery, and defended the coastal small boat fleet against preemption by large offshore corporate vessels. Although I am no longer on the board, having served my term limits, I still support the goals and mission as beneficial to the long-term health of our coastal communities.

In 1998, our son Rand suddenly developed chronic fatigue syndrome. He was playing on the varsity football team on Saturday and could not get out of bed on Monday. He was disabled to the point of missing the entire next three years of high school. He gradually overcome the illness. He earned a GED and enrolled in college in Michigan, later graduated from University of Nevada and later pursued a Masters of Arts in Teaching from the University of Alaska. He now teaches at the middle school in Homer. This experience has given me a better understanding of families and schools in dealing with the diversity of individual medical situations. Our daughter Tawny graduated with a masters in paleontology from the University of Michigan and is married to Shaun Reynolds from Seldovia. They have our only granddaughter and live in northern California.

The ’empty nest’ has given me the opportunity to work for our communities in Juneau without sacrificing important family commitments. 

Organizations

  • National Education Association (NEA) – Lifetime Member
  • United Fishermen of Alaska (UFA) – Former Member
  • Homer Senior Citizens – Lifetime Member
  • Homer Chamber of Commerce – Member
  • Community Rivers Project Coalition – Member
  • Homer Foundation KLEPS Endowment Fund – Fund Advisor
  • Seward Chamber of Commerce – Former Member
  • Anchor Point Senior Citizens – Member
  • Kachemak Bay National Research Reserve Community Council (KBNRR) – Member 2002-2004
  • Alaska Marine Conservation Council (AMCC) – Founding Board Member and Former Officer
  • Homer Little League – Former Board of Directors Member
  • Baseball coach, manager and All-star coach – Former
  • North Pacific Fisheries Association – Former Member and Officer
  • American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) – Member
  • Kachemak Bay Conservation Society – Member
  • Cook Inlet Keeper – Member
  • Civil Air Patrol – Member
  • Seward Fish and Game Advisory Committee – Former Member
  • Seward Harbor Commission – Former Member
  • West Coast Advisory Panel for the National Academy of Sciences National Research Council Committee on Individual Fishing Quotas – Former Member (completed)
  • North Pacific Fisheries Councils Committee on ‘Harvest Priority’ and ‘Full retention and Full Utilization’ – Former Member (completed)
  • Homer United Methodist Church – Attendee
  • City of Homer 2000 Fisheries Task Force – Former Member (completed)
  • Commercial Fishing Industry Scholarship Committee – Former Chairman
  • Boy Scout, Eagle Scout and former assistant scoutmaster

Publications

Scientific and Technical papers presented or published


  • Testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Resources, Fisheries Subcommittee representing Paul Seaton. February 2002
  • Testimony to the U.S. Senate field hearing representing AMCC
  • Testimony to the U. S. Senate Subcommittee on Oceans and Fisheries representing The Alliance Against IFQs. March 1995
  • “The Circulatory System of Pachygrapsis crasipes” Masters thesis 1971
  • “Cud chewing in musk oxen” – Alaskan Science Conference presentation 1968

Work Experience

I am currently the Co-Chair of the House Finance Committee in charge of the operating budget. In 2015-6 I was the Chair of the Health and Social Services Committee. I have served as Chair of the House Fisheries Committee, Chair of the House Education Committee, Chair of House State Affairs Committee and Co-Chair of the Resources Committee. I am the only member who has continuously sat on the Education, Health, and Resources committees. I also sat on a number of finance subcommittees including the Fish & Game Finance, University, Transportation and Public Facilities, and Environmental Conservation. During my time in office I have sponsored and co-sponsored a number of bills including those dealing with health care, fisheries and governmental reform.

Like many Alaskans, I have made a living and a life out of assorted job skills and entrepreneurial adventures. I understand the need for employment opportunities in our towns and rural communities as well as the challenges to small businesses and the self-employed. I know how government actions can affect business, both positively and negatively. 

My early work experiences included running a lawn mowing business while in high school, teaching tennis, picking celery, and as a J.C. Penny stockroom worker. In California, I maintained rural roads for several years with a D-6 Cat, and when I first came to Alaska I was a partner in a tree-clearing business. 

As a teacher in the late 1960s and early 70s, I taught junior high biological and physical sciences at Fort Wainwright (in the Alaska State Operated School System) and high school sciences in Camarillo, California. 

I have now been a commercial fisherman for over thirty years, participating in salmon drift gillnet, halibut longline, Tanner crab and Pacific cod pot fisheries and tendering salmon, herring and sablefish across the State. I presently own and manage an 80 foot fishing and fish tender vessel out of the Homer Harbor and depend on peninsula labor and supplies. My wife, children, and father-in-law have all worked on the boats with me, making fishing a family affair. I have also owned and managed apartments in Seward, Homer and Anchor Point. 

Aside from earning a living, I have contributed volunteer work to a number of organizations, commissions, and boards related to fishing, conservation, and civic duty.