ANCHORAGE, Alaska—In a contest that’s been largely overshadowed by the U.S. Senate race, a longtime incumbent and a former state representative are fighting hard to win Alaska's only U.S. House seat in Tuesday’s elections.
The chance to represent Alaska in the House is being sought by two men: incumbent Rep. Don Young and Democratic challenger Harry Crawford. Each says he has what it takes to do so in Washington, D.C.
This year, Young isn’t just defending his seat: he’s trying to earn what would be his 20th term in office.
“There's been millions, literally, of people who've voted for me over the last 38 years,” Young said. “It's about who could best do the job. If I didn’t believe I was best for the job, I wouldn’t be running.”
Young says the biggest national issue facing the House is regulation reform. He says there's too much government intervention, and it's time to strip some agencies of their decision-making power.
“No new regulations, and we review existing regulations, and I'll be reviewing Interior on EPA, and that will be under my jurisdiction,” Young said.
Young says his experience and his seniority allows him to balance the diverse interests of the state as the state’s single representative.
“I understand the challenges in rural areas -- I know enough of urban areas,” Young said. “My goal is to bring people together, not divide them into segments.”
But Crawford, Young’s challenger, says he's beaten an incumbent -- former state House Speaker Ramona Barnes, whose seat he took in 2000 -- before, and he's confident he can do so again.
Crawford served five terms in the Legislature as a representative, and gave up his seat to run against Young.
“I believe I can do the same here: take the same skills I learned in Juneau in Washington, and work across party lines to get the job done for Alaska -- not for special interests around the country,” Crawford said.
Crawford emphasizes the Alaska gas pipeline as an integral part of the state’s future, and says it needs to be America's No. 1 energy policy.
“We have a problem in the Mideast, and the fact that we depend on the Mideast for so much of our energy is the foreign-policy 800-pound gorilla; we've got to change that,” Crawford said.
Crawford is also pushing for universal pension plans that won't be controlled by the government.
While both candidates outlined their plans this weekend, Alaskans will choose just one of them on Tuesday.
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