CANDIDATE Q&A: U.S. House — Nick Begich III

The Daily News asked candidates for statewide office in the Aug. 16 Alaska primary and special U.S. House elections to answer a series of issue and biographical questions to help voters understand their positions. Some questions were suggested by readers. Read all the responses here.

Nick Begich III • Party: Republican • Occupation: Business executive, investor • Age: 44 • Residence: Chugiak •

Relevant experience or prior offices held

As a lifelong Republican, I have held a variety of professional and political roles with the intent of growing opportunity through entrepreneurship. I served as a co-chair for Rep. Don Young’s 2020 campaign and the Alaska Republican Party Finance Committee. Professionally, I have extensive experience in both corporate and startup settings and have been involved in managing businesses both in Alaska and around the world. As such, I’m uniquely qualified to make the business case for Alaska in Washington, D.C.

Why are you running for office?

If we are going to successfully represent Alaska’s role in our nation to the rest of Congress, it will require someone to make what I call the “business case for Alaska.” I support resource development across the board, and I will never compromise on the freedoms guaranteed to each of us under the U.S. Constitution. I’m running for Congress to bring new energy and solutions to the job. I will work hard to provide the leadership and representation the people of Alaska deserve.

Name two big problems or challenges currently facing Alaska and how you plan to address them if elected.

My top priority when elected is to create economic opportunities that unlock generational wealth for the people of our great state. To do this, we must provide a compelling case to those in Congress that Alaska’s future is a core part of our nation’s future. Whether it’s oil and gas, critical minerals, timber, fishing, or tourism, Alaska provides the nation with a wealth of resources upon which we may build a healthy and stable economy, strong families, and a generation of leadership for our state.

Do you believe Joe Biden legitimately won the 2020 presidential election? If you believe there was fraud, where and how do you think it took place?

Unfortunately, Joe Biden is the president. It’s clear that we have a crisis of confidence in our election systems and restoring that confidence requires improved public transparency.

Supporters of former President Donald Trump violently attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2020. Do you believe President Trump should be held responsible for the events of Jan. 6?

We are a nation built on rule of law and the enforcement thereof. Further, no citizen may stand above the law, irrespective of their position. Any determination of who bears responsibility for illegal acts conducted at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2020 must rest with the courts and should be determined based on those sets of facts that pass the test of reasonable doubt.

Do you think Congress should pass legislation to limit or protect abortion access?

I agree with the Supreme Court’s decision. Under the 10th Amendment, any powers not specifically enumerated as being within the purview of the federal government are reserved for the states. We have a constitutional amendment process by which we may modify provisions related to this specific issue.

What specific actions, if any, should the U.S. government take to curb gun violence?

I oppose gun control legislation. I strongly support our Second Amendment rights and will defend our right to keep and bear arms.

How do you think new resource development projects in Alaska should be balanced with the interests of environmental protection and climate change mitigation?

Alaskans have proven time and time again that we can and have developed our resources in a safe and responsible manner. In fact, Alaska’s resource industry is often cited as an international model of best practices. We need to be making the business case to the rest of the country and the broader world that new resource development projects should be pursued here. We have extraordinary resources at our feet and many of our resource and supply chain challenges as a nation can be solved by responsibly developing resources in Alaska.

How will you promote putting aside partisan politics to address complex issues in Congress?

I want to be a congressman for all Alaskans. In a divided Congress, I believe it is critical that our next congressman has the ability to work with others to advance legislation that is beneficial for Alaska and our nation. We cannot afford to elect representatives who would seek opportunities to intentionally polarize our national discourse or who offer simplistic, empty rhetoric.

Do you believe the federal government is well positioned to continue to address the COVID-19 pandemic and other future pandemics that may emerge?

I believe in individual responsibility and data-driven science. The government’s response to COVID-19 did not always follow the underlying science, and as a result many Americans missed a key message that would have dramatically diminished underlying risk, not just for COVID-19 but for diabetes, heart health, and more: namely diet and exercise. I am totally opposed to vaccine mandates and similar government restrictions. The federal government’s response to COVID has burdened an entire generation of Americans with even greater debt and a psychological imprint of misplaced panic.

Should transgender athletes be allowed to compete in sports according to the gender with which they identify?

No. Men and women are fundamentally different in their genetics and expressed physiology. Ignoring this undisputed scientific fact gaslights an entire generation of Americans and disenfranchises women who work hard to compete in sport.

The federal infrastructure bill, which was voted for by all members of Alaska’s congressional delegation, stands to bring millions in federal funding to projects in Alaska. How would you ensure Alaska maximizes the benefits of this bill?

I am strongly supportive of real, hard infrastructure for Alaska. While this bill contained within it a number of green-new-deal styled provisions, the funds have now been authorized and are being appropriated. For Alaska to maximize the benefits of the bill, we must make certain that those projects which it funds have key components: they focus on hard infrastructure; they are long term; and they provide a maintenance model that ensures the investment is properly supported over its useful life. As Americans we have a responsibility to ourselves and to future generations to maximize the benefit of our investments in ways that provide a positive return to our citizens. Poor investment decisions are ultimately paid for in the form of higher taxes or the hidden tax of inflation. I have great concerns over the level of spending introduced by this and similar bills and will work in the Congress to ensure that investments made by the American people are of high quality.

What should the federal government be doing to curb inflation and strengthen the U.S. economy?

Inflation’s root cause can be traced directly to an unprecedented level of economic stimulus and wasteful spending introduced by the Congress, exacerbated by an overly accommodative Federal Reserve which purchased newly issued debt by increasing the money supply (i.e. “money printing”). Economic strength is not driven by loose fiscal and monetary policy, rather it is driven by fundamental factors of labor force participation, productivity, smart investment, innovation, and comparative advantage. In this respect, Alaska’s resources have the potential to play a critical role. Failing to develop these resources leaves the nation’s future to the whims of rivals and adversaries. We must pursue an all-of-the-above development strategy for Alaskan resources as a basis for restoring domestic, vertically-integrated supply chains that will drive U.S. manufacturing, enhance job creation, and deliver generational prosperity. To do this, we must make an articulate and persuasive case for Alaska.

What should be done, if anything, to change federal immigration policies?

Smart, legal immigration has fueled America’s historic growth story; however, today’s immigration policies are anything but smart and legal. Those valuable would-be citizens who could immediately contribute to our nation are placed in the back of the line, often waiting many years before applications can be reviewed and completed, while others who have illegally entered the country are provided with various forms of financial support and permitted to remain within the United States without any legal status. Porous borders undermine on important component of national security; we must ensure only legal entry to our nation is permitted.

What is the country’s biggest national security threat?

We face several interrelated national security threats generally centered on reliance to non-allied foreign rivals. This threat manifests in multiple ways: a) rivals often fund our deficit spending b) rivals currently provide energy products to our nation and our allies, and c) rivals control critical aspects of our modern supply chain. U.S. Foreign policy has been greatly limited in its ability to respond to a number of issues of international concern as a result of this interdependence, and a long-term comprehensive effort must be pursued to diminish these dependencies.

Where do you want Alaska and the U.S. to be five years from now in regard to emissions reductions and adaptation to the effects of climate change?

The United States has some of the most stringent environmental regulations in the world. Further, Alaska is a model for ensuring clean air, clean water, and safe resource industry practices. Over the next five years, it is critical that the United States use its influence to make certain that other nations are pursuing practices that diminish pollution of water and air. Our failures as a nation to assure basic, common sense manufacturing practices are broadly followed internationally has actually led to a form of “environmental arbitrage” wherein other nations mine and manufacture resources we consume in conditions that Americans would consider abhorrent. This double standard has hollowed out American industry, sent jobs and opportunities overseas, and done nothing to address true global pollution of our oceans and air.

What other important issue would you like to discuss?

Large technology firms today hold tremendous amounts of information on each citizen: voter records, asset ownership, credit history, likes and preferences, and even purchase history. This largely unregulated data marketplace allows Americans’ private information to be bought and sold, managed and monitored, and used to drive consumer behavior at unprecedented levels. Further, technology platforms are in a position to control the flow of information, to solely deem what they believe to be true, and influence the ability of those with whom they may disagree to reach an audience. This abuse of platform power threatens fundamental rights of self-determination and speech and must be curtailed in order to ensure we remain a truly free people.