Three Dems to run in primary for U.S. House

Candidates believe that Rep. Don Young tacitly supports U.S. Patriot Act

Posted: Monday, August 23, 2004

The three democratic candidates in Tuesday's primary election for the U.S. House are united in their disillusionment with what they consider to be incumbent Republican Don Young's support for the U.S. Patriot Act.

Frank Vondersaar, 53, of Homer and Thomas Higgins, 39, of Anchorage ran against Republican Ted Stevens for U.S. Senate in 2002. Dae Miles, 50, a Fairbanks squash farmer, has run unsuccessfully in at least one election for each of the past 13 years. He ran for U.S. House in 2000 and 2002.

Young is the lone Republican candidate. Libertarian Alvin A. Anders and Green Party candidate Timothy A. Feller are also running.

Both Higgins and Miles said that Young has criticized the Patriot Act, but done nothing to repeal it. Vondersaar could not be reached for comment but expressed a similar view on his Web site.

"Don Young has made the point that the Patriot Act is the stupidest thing ever passed by Congress, yet he has done nothing to remove it," Higgins said. "Obviously, he was among those foolish who didn't bother to read it, or he went along with it because the dictator (President) Bush said so."

Higgins, a theater technician in Anchorage, attended this summer's Democratic National Convention as a delegate for Dennis Kucinich. He is concerned in the increase in the national deficit. Statewide, he's against drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

"I believe in conservation and an increase in the required miles per gallon for vehicles," Higgins said.

Higgins also strongly supports the right to an abortion.

"(People) believe that life is sacred and that life begins at conception," Higgins said. "But once in the world, they don't house it, they don't educate it, they don't clothe it, they don't love it. Until American society is willing to take care of its child after it enters this world, I don't think government and society can decide if and when a child should be born."

Miles has lived in Fairbanks for 29 years, after three months in both Cordova and Juneau.

He hopes to use the election to draw attention to former Gov. Jay Hammond's idea to create a permanent fund dividend program in Iraq.

"Nobody knows what to do with Iraq," Miles said. "An Iraqi dividend, that's what we can do. Nobody knows what to do about America and welfare. A national dividend would take care of a lot of problems. It empowers people."

Miles also supports land-grant funding for schools and increasing public transit.

"There is nothing that's quicker and more effective to improve our communities immediately," Miles said.

Vondersaar has run for U.S. Senate or House every year since 1990. According to his Web site, he served in the U.S. Air Force from 1972 until he was "illegally purged" in 1986. He says he wrote a letter to Stevens about abuses in the military and was promptly placed in a psychiatric institution for six months.

"If fascists like Don Young, et. al. remain in power, all the 'terrorists' will disappear into prisons or psychiatric wards to be tortured, whether they are actually terrorists or not," he wrote on the site.

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