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Republican congressional candidate Nick Begich campaigns in Kodiak ahead of Tuesday’s special election

Nick Begich during his August 2022 campaign stop in Kodiak.
Nick Begich during his August 2022 campaign stop in Kodiak.

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Editor’s Note: KMXT will interview congressional candidates when they campaign in Kodiak. You can find more information about the special election and the Congressional candidates here. You can also find local election information here.

With about 48 hours before Alaskans start voting for their next representative in the U.S. House, Nick Begich stopped in Kodiak on Sunday to make a last pitch to voters. Begich is one of the two republicans on the ballot running to fill the remainder of the late congressman Don Young’s term.

It’s Begich’s second stop in Kodiak on the campaign trail – he also visited the island in May for Crab Fest. He says he wants coastal Alaskans to see that they’re a priority for his campaign.

“One of the things that I believe is that the opportunities of Alaska and the resources of Alaska are not in Anchorage. Anchorage is a great location. It’s a great hub of economic activity in the state, but the resources of Alaska are in coastal Alaska, they’re in rural Alaska,” Begich said.

“And these communities are really important to me. And as we thought about where we wanted to put a capstone on this phase of the campaign, it was important that we represent to coastal Alaska; look, you’re important. We haven’t forgotten about you, you’re going to be front and center if I’m down in D.C. representing the state.”

Begich says that while this race is unique in Alaska history– it’s both a special election and the first race for the U.S. House seat held under ranked-choice voting– his primary strategy is to travel to as many places in Alaska as he can.

“If you’re not willing to travel and meet the people of Alaska, that’s really important. And it was something that Don Young had done throughout his career, his long tenure in the House, is making sure that he was out on the ground, so that he could properly represent the people of our great state down in D.C,” Begich said.

KMXT’s Dylan Simard spoke to Begich about his campaign, fisheries policy and his priorities in Congress if he wins the special election on Aug. 16.

Dylan Simard: Realistically, you’re running for a three month term. If elected, what are your short term goals in Congress?

Nick Begich: Yeah, so I think establishing relationships, because you’re 100% right. It is a very short term. And you’ve got to build the relationships that you need, presumably, if you’re there following this brief term. And the goal is to go down to D.C.– I think there’s only about two and a half weeks or so during which this representative will be in session before the House moves into recess for campaign season. So it’s establishing relationships, it’s getting those initial committee assignments– House Resources is one of those committees that I’d like to be on should I be down in D.C. on our behalf. And starting to understand what is the current legislation that’s pending, and starting to talk about what legislation we need to introduce that will benefit the people of our state.

DS: You’re in Fishtown, U.S.A. In the House of Representatives, do you have any objectives for federal fisheries policy?

NB: Well, we definitely need to reauthorize the Magnuson Stevens act. It’s very important, it hasn’t been reauthorized in some time. You know, I think that there’s a lot of genius in the structure of Magnuson Stevens. And some of that genius is that you really don’t want elected officials playing in the fisheries too much, because there’s so much science involved and so much specific industry expertise that’s involved in making those decisions. And you want science as much as possible to drive that decision making. But it’s important because it’s a structure that has been designed and architected with intent, to ensure that we have sustainable, productive fisheries. And so we do need to reauthorize that piece of legislation, it’s important, and I think we need to continue to let science drive fisheries decision making.