Every two years for four-plus decades, an Alaskan or two have attempted to unseat Representative Don Young from his post as Congressman for All Alaska. And though the longest-serving man in congress has weathered every challenge, new opponents emerge every year.
So far this election year, three have filed, two democrats, Gregory Fitch of Juneau and Dimitri Shein of Anchorage. Also of Anchorage is undeclared candidate Alyse Galvin, who is running in the open Democratic primary election.
Galvin is visiting the Central Kenai Peninsula Thursday and will be in Homer on Friday.
Her platform is solidly Alaskan, with support for drilling in portions of ANWR and “responsible resource development” in general, but she opposes the Pebble Mine.
“We get it that we are a state that has unbelievable natural resources. But at the same time, don’t mess with our fish, don’t mess with our water, our air, our incredibly beautiful trails. So I think we have to draw the line. I think all Alaskans want to do that,” she said. “But at the same time we appreciate we need our roads to be plowed and we need some revenue coming in that will take care of us, and we need really strong schools. So there’s a balance there, yeah.”
And being a born-and-raised Alaskan, Galvin knows that the “Frontier Spirit” requires a support for gun rights, which could be a touchy subject these days for anyone seeking broad-based support in Alaska.
“Well, I’m Alaskan. I’m still pro-gun. That much is true, but I’m also human. And I think it’s heartbreaking. I think once again we are mourning children who were murdered in what should be a place of hope and safety, the public school. Mass shootings in our schools and other places have become far too regular, I think. I mean, we cannot allow ourselves to become numb to this trend. It’s unacceptable and we must fix it. At the same time I recognize that Alaskans also want to maintain what they feel good about. We’ve got a culture of guns (and) that’s never going to change up here.”
Given the historically low ratings of President Trump, many are predicting a poor showing for the Republicans this fall in the midterm elections, possibly switching one or both houses of congress to Democrats. Galvin says that would put her in a good position to help Alaskans.
“We’re looking at a wave that is happening. I think people are tired of what’s going on in Washington. Period. Or what’s not going on. I think that they’re ready for change. That’s what we’ve seen so far. People in the Lower 48 are saying, ‘enough is enough.’ And we want to be thinking about our future,” Galvin said.
“So with that in mind, we have an opportunity here. You probably know I’m undeclared and I have a good relationship with Lisa, and I think if the Democrats retake the House, it’ll be good to have someone there who can work with the democratic majority and with the republicans in the Senate.”
If Democrats do retake Congress, restoration of universal health care will likely be a top item. Galvin has an idea.
“We have a really good model in Alaska. The ‘Nuka Program’ at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium is delivering healthcare to patients in a way that is just only half the cost of the rest of us, but also much higher outcomes for the patience and the patients are much happier with their care,” she said. “So I think we should be looking at a model like that, that is scalable, by the way, to the rest of us.”
Thursday, Galvin will be available at Odie’s Deli in Soldotna for an hour at 11 a.m. and will have a “Meet and Greet” at the Soldotna Public Library from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.