Arctic expert files for lieutenant governor's race

Posted: Sunday, May 09, 2010

JUNEAU - The chairman of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission filed candidacy papers Friday to run for Alaska lieutenant governor.

Mead Treadwell's resignation from the commission will be effective after its June meeting.

In his resignation letter to President Barack Obama, Treadwell said he's frustrated by Washington's lack of a response to the commission's calls for action and funding to research oil spills and rural suicide.

Treadwell, a Republican, was appointed to the commission by President George W. Bush in 2001. Treadwell's term expired in February 2009 and he has continued serving pending a replacement or reappointment.

Other Republicans seeking Alaska's No. 2 executive office are state Rep. Jay Ramras of Fairbanks and radio talk show host Eddie Burke of Anchorage. Democrats Diane Benson of Anchorage and Nome Mayor Denise Michels are also running.

Primaries are in August.

Treadwell, 54, is the CEO of the Anchorage technology investment firm Venture Ad Astra, senior fellow at the Anchorage think tank Institute of the North and was deputy commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation under Gov. Wally Hickel in the early 1990s.

Treadwell has never held an elected office. He was co-chair of Mitt Romney's 2008 presidential campaign in Alaska and was a delegate to the Republican national convention.

"Main thing I'm running for is to help Alaska," he said. "Our problem is, one, we need to diversify our economy and, two, we need to state our case better for the country."

Treadwell said that means communicating and educating officials on Alaska's national importance in energy policy, defense and economics.

He says his experience and contacts in Alaska, the federal government and internationally set him apart from the other candidates. He said just a few weeks ago he was invited to Russia by Vladmir Putin to discuss Arctic policy; the meeting was derailed by the volcano eruption in Iceland.

Treadwell says his personal wealth could help him catch up in fundraising and will allow him to focus on campaigning.

He is widowed with three children. He lives in Anchorage.

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