Candidates for Alaska’s U.S. House seat, appearing at Wednesday forum held at an Alaska Oil and Gas Association conference, hold up signs to show their position on the Infrastructure Jobs and Investment Act. Only former state Rep. Mary Peltola, at right, supports the act. From left are Republican Nick Begich, Libertarian Chris Bye and Republican former Gov. Sarah Palin. The forum was held just before the Alaska Division of Elections released results showing that Peltola had won the special election to fill the remaining months in Rep. Don Young’s term. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
Shortly before Mary Peltola was announced as the winner in the special election to become Alaska’s sole member of the U.S. House of Representatives for four months, she and the three other candidates vying to succeed the late Don Young for a full term as Alaska made pitches to an oil industry audience on Wednesday. And they touted their abilities to promote the industry nationally.
Peltola, the Democrat who claimed a narrow victory in the special election to fill the remaining months of Young’s term, emphasized her ability to work across party lines and partisan divides.
“What we need to do is really articulate how Alaska does it best,” Peltola said at the candidate forum held on the first day of a two-day Alaska Oil and Gas Association conference in Anchorage.
Alaska has high environmental standards and companies working in the state are socially responsible, she said, but the message needs to spread more broadly.
“I think that you really need somebody who’s effective at communicating and partnering and coalition-building,” she said.
Former Gov. Sarah Palin, who rocketed to international fame as the Republican vice-presidential candidate in 2008 and through cable and reality TV shows following that, said her experience and connections will benefit Alaska and its oil industry.
“I’m not going to drop names and I’m not a fan of politicians, but I certainly appreciate all the endorsements that I’ve received from those who are in national office. They know that I’m going to hit the ground running. That’s what you need before Alaska goes under, as America (is) on a trajectory headed towards going under. You need a fighter out there who can hit the ground running,” she told the forum audience.
Businessman Nick Begich took a hard line in opposition to environmental groups and cast scorn on calls for a transition to renewable energy, the current permitting process and efforts to increase social responsibility in industry. He was critical of plans to increase carbon sequestration in Alaska’s oil basins, for example.