FAIRBANKS - Several hundred University of Alaska Fairbanks students turned out to hear Sen. Mark Begich defend the federal government's $787 billion economic stimulus package.
Begich told the crowd Friday that while the bill is not perfect, it is necessary to head off a "perfect storm" of economic trouble the country was facing at the start of the year.
Begich told them, "I knew personally that this was the right thing to do."
Begich, the first Democratic senator from Alaska in nearly three decades, was the sole member of the state's congressional delegation to vote for the stimulus bill. The vote was largely along party lines, with only three Republican senators dissenting.
The senator, a former regent for the University of Alaska, was asked if the package could lead to inflation down the line. While he said that is a concern, he said the most important thing right now is to restore consumer confidence.
"We need consume confidence above all" he said.
The talk was sponsored by Students Who Enjoy Economic Thinking, a university group that sponsors economic lectures.