ANCHORAGE - Former telecommunications executive Sheldon Fisher announced Thursday that he will challenge Rep. Don Young in the 2010 primary election.
Fisher described himself as a fiscal conservative who, if elected, would try to cut government spending to control the national deficit, create jobs and strengthen support for families and children.
The current situation both in Washington and in Alaska presents some unique challenges, Fisher said, but his business background shows that he is capable of defeating Young and is up to the job.
"I am confident I can win," said Fisher, a political newcomer. "There is nobody who is going to work harder."
Young, 76, who announced last year he is running for re-election, is seeking his 20th term in office despite being investigated for his ties to businessman Bill Allen, who was convicted of bribing state lawmakers. Young also was investigated for an earmark in a spending bill that benefited a Florida supporter.
In 2008, Young defeated then-Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell by 304 votes in the Republican primary. He defeated Democrat Ethan Berkowitz in the general election by more than 16,000 votes.
Alaska has more potential than any other state but is mired in gridlock as rival stakeholders compete to develop the state's resources, Fisher said.
"I have always been successful finding the common ground," he said.
Pamela Day, Young's chief of staff, said the congressman filed for re-election last year to show he is serious about running.
"He has always welcomed anyone into the process who is interested in running for office and, as always, he will look forward to the coming months and the dialogue and issues that are bound to come up," Day said.