Young, Cissna make last pitch in House race

Democratic state Rep. Sharon Cissna, left, listens to a question during her debate with U.S. Rep. Don Young on Monday, Nov. 5, 2012, in Anchorage, Alaska. Young, a Republican, is seeking a 21st term as Alaska's lone U.S. House member. Cissna is his Democratic challenger. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer)

ANCHORAGE — The candidates for Alaska’s lone U.S. House seat made one last pitch for the job on Monday, with U.S. Rep. Don Young saying opponent Sharon Cissna can’t do anything that he’s been able to do.


Young touted his seniority during an Anchorage Chamber of Commerce forum, and said he’s already planning to run again in 2014.

Young is seeking re-election to a 21st term on Tuesday. If he wins, Young, 79, would be poised to become the longest-serving member of Alaska’s congressional delegation, edging out the late Ted Stevens, who served 40 years in the U.S. Senate.

Cissna, a Democratic state representative from Anchorage, best known for her fight against the Transportation Security Administration, billed herself as an alternative to Young.

During question-and-answer periods Monday, she talked about making changes to the federal health care law, while Young called for its repeal, saying it’s unfixable. Cissna, 70, also said she doesn’t support opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas development, something Young staunchly supports.

The soft-spoken Cissna said she’s someone who is willing to work across party lines and is capable of bringing people together to look for solutions. Young said, with “all due respect,” he’s been doing that for 40 years but he said he will “force the issue for Alaska every time. He asked those in attendance to consider his record.

“I’m good at what I do,” he said. “She can’t do anything I’ve been able to do. She’s a freshman. So just remember that as you go to the polls.”

Both agreed with the need for strong military bases in Alaska, and said energy concerns were the main issue facing rural Alaska.

Young said climate change may be occurring but he didn’t believe it was man’s fault or responsibility. He also said it is a “myth” that polar bears are endangered.

Young last year introduced legislation to delist polar bears as a threatened species.


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