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US Senate Republican Candidates Have Debate

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The three Republican candidates in Alaska’s senate race recently debated each other on economics, foreign policy, and other issues.   KDLG’s Chase Cavanaugh has more.

A recent debate pitted the three Republicans gunning for Mark Begich’s US senate seat against each other.  Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell, Lieutenant Colonel Dan Sullivan, and Captain Joe Miller all responded to questions about a variety of topics.  First among them was Alaska’s economics, particularly oil and gas.  Treadwell says these resources are key to Alaska’s future, but also highlighted the state’s human capital.

“Alaskans are incredibly innovative people, and we have great opportunities in alternative energy. We have a generation of young Alaskans coming forward because of programs like the native corporations’8(a) program, because of the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program, because of programs that we’ve had to get kids to take the tough classes in math and science. I believe we will be creating as much in a diversified economy from our knowledge as we do our resources.”

Sullivan came to the same conclusion about natural resources.  Like Treadwell, he wants Washington to increase access to resource exploitation on federal lands, but added that Congressional involvement should not be as pervasive in Alaskan resource decisions, including fisheries.

“Right now with regard to the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the reauthorization, one of the things we don’t need in that act is congress coming down and dictating the allocations. We need to make sure we have strong local input from all our different fisheries groups in the different regions of the state to make sure that Alaskans have the input and it’s not a dictate from Washington, which is one of the big problem in the natural resource sector, including fisheries.”

Miller said the best course of action was to wrest the resources from federal control, and to exploit them as much as possible.  He also blamed environmental regulation for hampering Alaskan development.

“We must at this point do everything we can and use every leverage of political power that we have to wrest control of the resource base, we gotta drill baby, drill. What’s behind the compromise, though, what’s behind this complacency? It is environmentalism run amok, and that’s truly what backs it. We’ve got, for example, the endangered species act, the clean water act, the clean air act, they’re being used to stop development.”

Miller blamed these regulations on a regime of activist judges.  He also stressed that debt was the country’s biggest problem, and advocated for the abolishment of the IRS in favor of a single “fair tax.” 

On foreign policy, the candidates had differing opinions.  Treadwell said the United States needs to take an active role in the world, with strong leadership backed by a powerful military and flourishing economy.

“I believe in a foreign policy where the Unites States is strong, and we’re strong because we have a military that’s second to none, and our strong, lethal military deters aggression. I believe we have to have behind that military a productive US economy, a military that is backed up by a strong US economy, an industrial economy that works, and technology leadership, and we keep turning that away. We also have to lead because you can see right now where the vacuum has left us.”

Treadwell is referring to the current crises in Iraq and Syria.    

Sullivan argued that America is a force for good in the world, and stressed its energy renaissance as a key to success.  Throughout his statements, Sullivan framed himself as a man of action.

“Right now in Washington, we do not have a fighter, we have a lapdog for the Obama administration. We used to have a fighter in Ted Stevens, we don’t have that anymore. When I was your attorney general in 2009, and I saw the onslaught of this federal government Obama administration in every part of our sector of economy, I thought it was really important to fight it.”

In contrast with his peers, Miller argued that America needs to scale back its foreign interventions.  In particular, he says nation building abroad has failed.

“We reject it because it’s not within our national interest, and because very frequently what happens, and I respect Dan Sullivan’s service, but the fact of it is, when you go to Afghanistan, when you go to Iraq, what you find is, if you’re a Christian, for example, if you want to go out there and proselytize, go out there and witness to people you know what happens? You’re probably going to have a sword to your neck. We have not restored or given freedoms to these countries. We have not established constitutions that have been successful in guaranteeing the same freedoms that this country has. In other words, the nation building has been a failure.”

There was also discussion on minor issues, including gay marriage, which all three candidates are against, as well as proposition 1, which they are all also against.   They also highlighted their opposition to current US Senator Mark Begich.  When asked about their attacks, Begich said that he didn’t take them personally, but criticized the candidates for their lack of action.

“These are people who are not proposing ideas, not talking about Alaska’s future, not thinking about where we need to go, how to solve problems, get results. What they’d rather do is complain and attack me. I think that’s a disservice to the voter. I think the voter wants to know, the Alaskan wants to know, my fellow neighbors want to know, what are you going to do, how are you going to make it a better place? We can always do better, and that’s what I strive to do every day.”

All three candidates will compete in the primary election on August 19th.