Independent Dr. Al Gross talked to KDLG about how he plans to grow the economy of Bristol Bay by supporting fishermen and developing renewable energy resources.
Bristol Bay voters are heading to the polls today to cast their votes in this year’s general election. Independent candidate Dr. Al Gross is challenging republican senator Dan Sullivan for his seat in office. Gross’ campaign reached out to KDLG to share how he plans to help residents in the region.
He says his priority for the region is growing the economy in rural areas like Bristol Bay.
“I recognize that there are a lot of other opportunities for economic development in rural Alaska and Bristol Bay in particular,” Gross said. “Expanding the internet would be a huge way to bring jobs to the area.”
Gross also wants to boost the economy in the region by helping local fishermen. He says improving business relationships with overseas fish markets is a priority if he is elected.
“We need a better market,” he said. “We need to solve the trade war with China and trade embargo with Russia. Right now Russians will not buy American seafood or Alaskan seafood and yet they’re flooding our markets with Russian seafood”
He believes shifting the markets will benefit Bristol Bay’s economy.He hopes it will raise the price of seafood for fishermen in the area and across the state.
Gross also wants to promote green energy in rural Alaska. He says the region has the potential to use more sustainable resources.
“There are so many renewable energy opportunities in rural Alaska that are not being taken advantage of and if we can promote diversification of our energy, then we can lower energy costs in lower Alaska which would also promote economic development,” he said.
Gross is aware of Nushagak Cooperative’s Nuyakuk Hydroelectric Project. He’s excited by the project’s potential, but says it should only move forward if the project does not harm fish or their habitat.
He says while he supports economic growth for the region, he still opposes the proposed Pebble Mine. Gross says Bristol Bay should be protected under section 404 of the Clean Water Act.
“The permitting process is ongoing and pebble is about to produce a plan for mitigation and the process is the permit,” Gross said. “You’ve got to stop the process if you’re going to stop the mine and Dan Sullivan has done none of that and the most recent pebble tapes confirm that.”
Senator Dan Sullivan also scheduled an interview with KDLG, but his campaign cancelled due to a scheduling conflict.
The general election is November 3 and polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Check out KDLG’s voter information page for more information about polling place locations.
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