Young, Crawford debate at chamber

Posted: Friday, October 15, 2010

Both incumbent Rep. Don Young and challenger Harry Crawford said they're the person Alaska needs representing the state in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Michael Penn/Juneau Empire
Michael Penn/Juneau Empire

Debating before the Juneau Chamber of Commerce, Crawford said he'd be able to work with members of both parties, and contrasted that with Young's bragging that he was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Obama's worst enemy.

"I don't know how he works with these people when he's their worst enemy," Crawford said.

As their enemy, Crawford said, he's not going to be able to accomplish things for Alaska such as a natural gas pipeline, bridge to the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, opening ANWR or drilling in the Chukchi Sea.

Young, however, said there was going to be a Republican majority in the House of Representatives, and that with his seniority he'd be able to do much for Alaska.

"I will be a chairman, hopefully a chairman of Transportation," he said, a committee assignment he used to bring $92 million to Juneau in the last transportation bill as its ranking Republican member.

"You know what you get when you elect Don Young," he said, promising to be a "loud and strident voice" for Alaska.

Young and Crawford agreed on several topics, such as promotion of renewable energy and opposed repeal of the Jones Act requirement that ships carrying cargo between U.S. ports be U.S. ships.

While Crawford campaigned against Young, the 38-year veteran representative campaigned against Obama.

"This is an administration that does not believe in small business," he said. "This is an administration that believes we should be socialized," criticizing cap and trade legislation, financial reform and the health care overhaul.

While Young predicted a Republican takeover of the House of Representatives, Crawford said Obama would still be president.

"Somebody needs to be able to talk to him," he said.

Crawford focused in on Young's claim to be "Congressman for All Alaska," and said his campaign contribution history showed otherwise.

"He represents big corporations, moneyed interests from around the country - I represent Alaskans," Crawford said.

"I'd like to bring this congressional seat back into the control of Alaskans," he said.

The two candidates were asked a single foreign policy question about the possibility of war with Iran if it seems acquisition of nuclear weapons was imminent.

Crawford used the question to promote renewable energy, saying "the 800-pound gorilla is our dependence on foreign oil."

Young used the question to talk about Afghanistan, and said military leaders were imposing too many restrictions, an apparent reference to concern for civilian casualties.

"As long as we have the rules of combat that we have today we'll never be able to have victory," he said.

Contact reporter Pat Forgey at 523-2250 or

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