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My Turn: Alaskans can't afford not to elect Mead Treadwell to the US Senate

Posted: August 14, 2014 - 11:06pm

I spent the last four legislative sessions in Juneau — first as a House page and then as staff to Representatives. During that time, I have gotten to know (or have closely observed) Sen. Mark Begich, Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, former Department of Natural Resources commissioner Dan Sullivan and former magistrate Joe Miller.

I met Treadwell my first year by Juneau and have gotten to know him. I learned he was a successful businessman before he got into politics. He isn’t consumed in himself and is a balanced individual as demonstrated by the fact that as a widower he raised three great kids (a very time-consuming job and one that is difficult to do alone while concurrently running a business and fulfilling his role as lieutenant governor).

Mead isn’t a lifetime politician; he spent his career in investments and establishing and managing businesses. Over the years, he became a renowned expert on Arctic policy (Alaska is the only Arctic state and the reason the U.S. has any say in Arctic policy) and has been sent to many Arctic policy diplomatic conferences around the world. He has successfully dealt with a myriad of space exploration issues, including satellite designs. He has started businesses where he created digital watermarking used in safeguarding our money and other things. Has developed part of the technology used in cameras that Google Maps uses to map the world. He has done a great job as lieutenant governor and helped the governor with the Choose Respect campaign to reduce the number of Alaskans who are victims of sexual and physical assault.

During Mead’s lieutenant governor campaign, he and the governor won the majority vote in 39 of our state’s 40 house districts.

Commissioner Sullivan was appointed to his positions as the state’s attorney general and later DNR commissioner, but was not elected. Although Joe Miller won a primary election, he has never been elected to a state office.

Mead is strongly opposed to abortion and has taken a strong stance on the right to life issue.

We need Mead as someone who is conservative and won’t just go along with the passive attitude of the Speaker of the House in D.C. Mead will work with others to tell Washington we don’t want Obamacare, we don’t want gun control and we don’t want ridiculous federal overreach by the EPA that doesn’t let Alaska responsibly use its resources.

Alaska doesn’t need another moderate Republican senator such as Dan Sullivan would be. We need a strong contrast from Begich — a conservative candidate who is a vetted and proven and elected leader like Mead Treadwell.

Lastly, regarding Joe Miller: I supported Joe in his campaign against Sen. Murkowski. I was all for him at the time (as the record and my friends will attest), but what really made me lose my respect for Joe happened when I was a delegate from my district in 2012 to the Republican state convention in Anchorage.

If you followed this in the news, it was a mess. During the whole convention, numerous individuals with Joe Miller were egging on the chaos, acted very out of order and created havoc. The climax of chaos happened when they all stood up and shouted Lisa Murkowski down while she was attempting to give her address. It was exactly what “Occupy Wall Streeters” were doing.

I’m not a fan of how Lisa acted in that election; I think what she did was wrong, and she is way too moderate for me, but there is something called respect that Joe and his followers didn’t have at the convention. I believe Joe needs to give up his blatant grudge and inability to compromise civilly with his potential other senator before anyone should elect him.

Over the years Mead has become a good friend of mine and my family, and I believe him to be an honest man. He has good ideas and has a record of acting on and accomplishing his good ideas. Alaska needs to replace Mark Begich by electing Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell — the only candidate with enough history and across-Alaska experience to beat Mark Begich.

• Elijah Verhagen is a Nenana resident.

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