Friday, April 25, 2008

North Pole Pastor Roderic H. "Rick" Sikma Enters The Republican Race For Alaska U.S. Senator Ted Stevens' Seat

Update: Post updated April 27th to reflect the fact that Sikma is the pastor of the Freedom In Christ Church. Updated information posted below in green.

The roster of Republican candidates for Alaska U.S. Senator Ted Stevens' seat, already populated by David Cuddy, Gerald Heikes, and Richard Wanda, grew by one more on April 24th, 2008. The Anchorage Daily News' Alaska Politics blog reports that a pastor from North Pole, Alaska (just southeast of Fairbanks), Roderic H. "Rick" Sikma (pictured above left), has tossed his hat into the ring. Alaska Division of Elections website updated to reflect this addition.

To avoid "separation of church and state" questions, Sikma has taken a leave of absence from his pastorship at what is now known as the Freedom In Christ Church, resulting from the merger of the North Star Alliance Church with the Freedom In Christ Church in 2000 (thanks to Michelle Sikma for providing this updated information). This church is apparently part of the Christian Missionary Alliance. He's a first time candidate for elective office, but ADN seems to consider him as "serious". Sikma's official campaign website:

Sikma sent out a statement saying, "the primary issues we are facing as a country and a state are the ethics and morals in which many in leadership are struggling."

Those who insist upon applying a political label to Sikma, if for nothing else, to establish an initial frame of reference, can best classify him as a "religious conservative", somewhat in the mold of Mike Huckabee. From the Issues Page of his campaign website, Sikma identifies the issues of importance to him, and proffers his proposed solutions (I actually summarize his ideas rather than replicate them):

(1). Integrity within Government.

(2). Employment/Business. Too much bureaucratic red tape in the form of "credentialing" and "permitting" add to costs of running a business and discourage entrepreneurship.

(3). Taxation. Repeal the 16th Amendment.

(4). Government Spending. First, determine what government assets could be released for privatization in order to ease the national debt. But more importantly, better define and contract the role of the federal government to a more organic function. Sikma believes the federal government should restrict itself to the following roles:

- Defense of our Country
- Protection of our Borders
- Transportation – Ports and Roads
- Upkeep and payment of Social Security
- Medicare and Medicaid
- Emergency Services
- International Water Projects

(5). Immigration/Border Control. Deny all benefits to illegals. Protect and promote the preferential rights of legal US citizens to health care and jobs. Support Border Patrol policies and law enforcement efforts to identify and remove illegals.

(6). War in Iraq. Give a deadline to the Iraqi government to assume complete control of their country as a motivating device. Without media headlining the removal of our troops, there needs to be an efficient and orderly withdrawal as the Iraqi military is shifted into place through the direction of their leaders and government.

(7). Education. Allow prayer in public schools. Better empower local governments to give parents and teachers more authority within the school system. [Ed. Note: This implies Sikma opposes the serial federalization of public education as promoted under No Child Left Behind.]

(8). ANWR. Absolutely! Open it up.

(9). Gas Prices. Ease restrictions on the construction of new oil refineries. Reduce our dependency on foreign oil imports by more vigorously exploiting our own resources. Continue to evaluate alternative fuel resources. Consider patent releases on alternative fuels and motors developed over the years.

Sikma has been married for 46 years, and has two children and four grandchildren. He has an impressive and diverse portfolio of political and life experiences.

Analysis: Alaska Politics is right - Sikma can be considered a serious candidate. I would insert him in the depth chart right behind Dave Cuddy and ahead of Gerald Heikes and Richard Wanda. Cuddy has more money, more political experience, is a bit more polished, and appears to be just as conservative in many aspects as Sikma.

Strengths: Sikma's vision of a more organic federal government is exactly what the doctor ordered. Before we can decide how much to fund government, we must better define the purpose and role of government. The federal government has become so invasive and intrusive that it is now becoming oppressive. Instead of merely protecting and backstopping Americans, the federal government actively engages in social engineering and behavior modification, which pads its costs to the taxpayer.

This occurs most frequently in the area of civil rights. For example, when a business is accused of racial or gender discrimination, the burden of proof does not fall upon the accuser, but instead upon the target to prove that it is not discriminating. This violates the traditional presumption of innocence customarily afforded to the accused. As a result, businesses, instead of pursuing merit hiring and promotion, engage in defensive hiring and promotion via affirmative action. Consequently, Whites may be rejected in favor of lesser qualified non-whites by human relations managers in order to pre-empt civil rights litigation. This results in inferior products and services to the public; diversity trumps competency.

Other obvious strengths of Sikma's platform include his denial of services to illegals, his desire to simplify taxation, and his promotion of wider exploitation of our own energy resources to promote greater economic autarky.

Weaknesses: First, he can forget about the school prayer issue, simply because student-led prayer is already technically permitted in our public schools nationwide. Second, eliminating the 16th Amendment altogether is not only too extreme, but would deny us the continued use of income taxation as one of several strategies to reduce our national debt. What we need is simpler and fairer income taxation.

But ultimnately, the questions for us Republicans is, can we afford to throw out Ted Stevens and his seniority at a time in which Don Young's candidacy is in the process of melting down? Can we afford to lose BOTH of them in the same election cycle? My answer is "No". Both Cuddy and Sikma might be good replacement Republicans, but can either beat Mark Begich? Probably not. But a properly stabilized and marketed Ted Stevens campaign can turn back Begich's challenge and send Stevens back to Washington in November.


  1. Michelle Sikma, Chair4/26/2008 7:54 PM

    One minor correction, Rick Sikma is no longer Pastor of North Star Alliance Church. He merged the NSAC with Freedom in Christ Church, (non-denominational) in 2000.

  2. Thanks for the clarification, Michelle. It looks like a few of the local church directories for Fairbanks posted online could use that information as well.

    I have updated my post accordingly.