A new Democratic contender for the U.S. Senate has entered the race, and he says that although he doesn't have millions in campaign contributions, he can win through grassroots campaigning.
Mike Layne, 34, of Barrow, said he wants to shorten the work week to 32 hours, increase the national minimum wage to $10 and provide free health insurance to all Americans.
He will face former governor Tony Knowles in the Democratic primary. Layne has lived in Barrow since May 2000.
"I'm sick and tired of politics as usual," Layne said. "Politics seems to be made up of wealthy people, and people influenced by special interests."
Layne, a grant administrator for the North Slope Borough, has never run for public office. While living in Barrow, he has worked as a youth counselor for the state Office of Children's Services and also managed the North Slope Borough Tobacco Prevention and Control program.
His campaign Web site, www.mikelayne.com, says:
He opposes the U.S. Patriot Act and any laws that give government the power to infringe on civil liberties.
He will work to establish a government-financed national health insurance system.
He supports expanding student loan forgiveness programs to include all four-year undergraduate degree programs for people who pursue careers as teachers, nurses and in public-care positions in underserved areas.
Layne said he is not sure yet whether he will raise campaign money or file with the Alaska Public Offices Commission, the state agency that oversees campaign contributions.
"I think the first thing I'm doing is focusing on a core group of friends and family in the state," he said. "I'm also trying to generate additional volunteers."
His wife, Rachael Stafson-Layne, will serve as his campaign secretary.
His campaign Web site says Layne served in the U.S. Navy from 1987 to 1990. In 1995, he was awarded a bachelor's degree from St. John's College in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Timothy Inklebarger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.