ANCHORAGE -

Candidates for state office got the chance Wednesday to make an impression on Alaskans who will have to wait a few years to vote.

Gubernatorial hopefuls Byron Mallott, Bill Walker and incumbent Gov. Sean Parnell along with U.S. Senate Republican candidates Joe Miller, Dan Sullivan and Mead Treadwell answered questions posed by Anchorage middle school students.

The venue was a forum sponsored by AARP Alaska.

All six candidates expressed strong support for education.

They said creating jobs and growing the economy will be a key to making sure programs such as Social Security will be around when students reach retirement age.

Eighth grader Hunter Lukacz of Gruening Middle School says he was impressed by Parnell's closing remarks that appealed to students to help end domestic violence.