Compass: Alaska needs leaders who will step up to issues we face

On Oct. 15, I announced my candidacy for the United States Senate, holding kick-off events in Anchorage, Wasilla, and Fairbanks. Accompanied by my wife, daughters and father and mother-in-law, we drove nearly 400 miles to take our campaign message directly to the people of our great state.

As Alaskans we are all truly blessed: breathtaking beauty, world-class resources, and above all, talented and diverse citizens. We have huge opportunities before us, especially the energy renaissance that is beginning to take place across Alaska and parts of the United States.

But Washington is broken -- not only does it ignore these opportunities it undermines them by: shutting down responsible resource development in Alaska; curtailing our individual rights and smothering our economy with dictates like Obamacare; and mortgaging our children's future with trillion-dollar deficits. Many are viewing America as a country in decline. Career politicians who serve their own interests above their state's and country's have largely contributed to the mess in Washington.

We can, we must, and we will change this for our Alaska families, our state economy, and for our national security in a dangerous world.

My campaign will emphasize opportunity and optimism, focusing on three critical areas: First, accelerating the Alaska and American energy renaissance that is spreading from the Cook Inlet to the Interior, to the North Slope and beyond to create opportunity, affordable energy, and jobs for Alaskans. This includes not only oil and gas, but our other world-class resources -- renewable energy, minerals, coal, timber, and our bountiful fisheries -- and the value-added industries that go with them.

Next, we will continue our effective fight against the Obama administration's federal overreach into our lives and economy. Many talk about this idea, but I am proud to have been on the front lines over the past four years, actually fighting these battles every day for Alaskans. As Alaska's attorney general and DNR commissioner, I effectively fought the Obama administration on Obamacare, the EPA's numerous attempts to shut down our state, the delays on Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas exploration, and the persistent attempts to lock up ANWR.

Finally, we will focus on protecting Alaskans: our families, individual rights, fiscal future, and security. This means the bedrock defense of our Second Amendment rights. It also means standing up for veterans who have defended our great nation for decades and deserve the benefits they have earned, but that Washington continues to delay. As a 20-year Marine Corps infantry and reconnaissance officer, I care passionately about this issue, and on Veterans Day, my campaign will issue our first policy initiative focused on veterans' related matters which you can find on our website.

I also care deeply about the serious problem of sexual assault in our state and our nation's military, which has made recent news headlines. As Alaska's attorney general, I worked closely with Gov. Parnell, numerous Alaska legislators, and countless other dedicated Alaskans on developing and implementing the "Choose Respect" initiative to address this horrendous social problem. As the father of three daughters, this is a personal issue for me. As the current battalion commander of a Marine Corps reserve ANGLICO unit, I am also deeply involved in training and leading America's warriors, including having trained hundreds of young Alaska men to be U.S. Marines since 1997. These differing experiences provide me with a unique perspective on how we can forcefully and effectively address the urgent challenge of sexual assaults in our military.

Leaders with broad-based experience and records of actually getting things done can put Alaska and America on the path to dominate the 21st century the way we did in the 20th century. I intend to be that leader for Alaska in the U.S. Senate.

Over the next several months, I will be traveling throughout the state to hear my fellow Alaskans' hopes and concerns, to listen and understand more deeply the issues that they care about, and to share my vision of opportunity for Alaska. I look forward to seeing you on the campaign trail in the coming months.

Dan Sullivan is a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in 2014.