I want to thank the Anchorage Daily News for this opportunity to respond to Elise Patkotak's piece dated Oct. 20, 2010, "2010: Year of the stealth candidate." But she had the wrong target. There is only one candidate hiding out in this campaign' and it ain't me.
So far during this campaign I've participated in five congressional forums or debates. Don Young showed up for one. I've campaigned in Fairbanks, Barrow, Bethel, North Pole, Palmer, Wasilla, Anchorage, Chugiak, Soldotna, Homer, Kenai, Haines, Juneau, Sitka, Petersburg, Wrangell, Ketchikan and lots of other places. Don Young has mainly stayed in Washington. Why? He thinks he can win without listening to Alaskans or seeking their help. I know I need your help and I want your opinion.
I am running for Congress to represent the people of Alaska and not the special interests. Campaigning takes a lot of money. More than 90 percent of my donations come from individual Alaskans. Over 90 percent of Don Young's come from outside the state. Raising that kind of money comes with a certain responsibility. I feel a tremendous responsibility to represent the people of Alaska. My opponent's allegiances appear to be elsewhere, and sometimes this shows up in a disturbing voting record and the inappropriate use of earmarks. This pattern of behavior caught the attention of the U. S. Senate in May 2008, and they voted for a Justice Department investigation of Don Young (Anchorage Daily News, June 15, 2008). And he's never told us why, even after spending over $1.2 million on legal fees.
The problems that we face today in Alaska are enormous. Where is the infrastructure that we so desperately need? Why are our children dropping out of schools at an unprecedented rate? Why is gasoline upward of $7 per gallon in the bush? Where are the refineries to take charge of our oil for our citizens? Where is the hydroelectric power that would drastically cut the cost of electricity? Where are the wind farms, the co-generation plants, the solar energy, the geothermal fields? Where is the value added timber industry of Southeast Alaska? And where is the natural gas pipeline that we've been waiting for, for over 30 years. Most of all, where is the energy and enthusiasm from our Congressman to get these jobs done?
Why haven't we made progress on any of these critical issues in years, and where was Don Young all of this time? He was working for the special interests all across the country; working for everyone but you. He was given a great honor, to be the only representative of the great state of Alaska. He squandered that opportunity. He let us down.
There is a way to solve the problems that face our state and face our nation. There are common-sense solutions to nearly all of the problems that we face, if we don't let the money get in the way.
There is a way to balance the budget, and revitalize our economy. We did it in the '90s, and we will do it again, by putting Americans back to work, building a gas pipeline and using American-made steel. It is industry and work that drive the economy, not tax breaks for the wealthy. There is a way to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, by developing wind farms, hydroelectric power, solar energy, and shifting more of our traditional dependence on oil to natural gas, which we have in abundance.
The decision on Nov. 2 is simple. Do we continue looking to the failed policies of the past and the overwhelming influence big money donors have on decisions being made in Washington or do we take control of our future and return government back to the will of the people?
My name is Harry Crawford, and in case you haven't noticed, I'm running for Congress, the old-fashioned way, by taking my message to the people, every day.
Harry Crawford is a former ironworker, current member of the state House of Represenatives and Democratic candidate for the U.S. Congress.
By REP. HARRY CRAWFORD
Alaska Dispatch Publishing