This article was originally published by Alaska Public Media and republished by KNOM with permission.
Forty-eight candidates are running in the special election to fill the rest of Congressman Don Young’s term. It’s the most candidates ever in one election in Alaska. First up is the primary. Ballots must be postmarked by June 11. To help Alaskans sort through their dozens of choices, Alaska Public Media asked each candidate why they’re running and why voters should pick them. Here’s what they had to say:
Occupation: Orthopedic surgeon
Candidate statement: My name is Al Gross and I’m running for Congress as a non-partisan independent. Born and raised in Southeast Alaska, I’m Alaskan through and through. I know firsthand what makes Alaska special: our people and our land. I’m not a career politician. I’m a doctor, a commercial fisherman, a father of four and a lifelong Alaskan. My top priority as your congressman will be to listen to and to work for you. I want to work to help create jobs and to help diversify our economy by lowering energy, transportation and health care costs, which will make it easier for businesses in Alaska to prosper. Washington is broken. Together, we can send a bold message to Washington, that we want less politics and more solutions. I’m Al Gross, and I would really appreciate your vote on June 11. Thank you.
Age: I’m over 25 – the required age.
Candidate Statement: We must show Washington, D.C. their green energy policy is folly given today’s technology. Windmills freeze up in the cold, they need constant wind and petroleum lubrication. Electric cars have a range of about 200 miles and then must be recharged. It takes minutes to fill up a gas tank. It takes five hours to recharge and electric car. Solar panels need sun. The sun doesn’t shine at night. We have Arctic communities where the sun doesn’t shine for three months at a stretch. Summer is fine, but what about when solar panels are covered with snow? Washington, D.C. must stop its war on petroleum. It’s costing jobs and causing inflation. My name is Arlene Carle.
Occupation: Fishing Guide after retiring from the Army
Candidate Statement: My name is Chris Bye. The army brought me here back in 2003. We discovered there just isn’t a better place than Alaska. After several combat deployments, I retired from the army and became a fishing guide. We entered this race back in 2021, because there was nobody representing typical Alaskans. Professional republican and democrat politicians gave us $30 trillion of debt, 20 years of war and land management that stifles opportunities for Alaskans. As a term limit advocate, I believe typical Alaskans can make better decisions than career politicians. And as a libertarian, I place your freedom and your liberty ahead of any party elite or special interest. Don’t settle for the lesser of two evils. You can find out more at itstimealaska.com and I’ll see you all on the river.
Occupation: Anchorage Assembly member
Candidate Statement: Hello, my name is Christopher Constant. My path to Congress is paved with thousands of hours of community service. My net worth isn’t measured in dollars, but rather concrete contributions to our communities. I didn’t decide to run for Congress on a whim or because I saw a new opportunity with the seat becoming vacant. I announced my race in February because I believe I can pave the path to a better future for Alaska with hope and opportunity. I’m running for Alaska as lone congressional seat, because I’ve experienced firsthand the divisions that are tearing up our cities, state and country. I want to be part of the solution. My number one priority will be representing the interests of Alaskans who need help in Washington. As Alaska’s lone representative, I will be there for you.
Occupation: Senior Program Manager and retired military
Candidate statement: (No statement was provided.)
Occupation: Retired public administrator, lawyer and law professor
Candidate Statement: Hello, Alaskans. I’m Gregg Brelsford, a business-friendly, independent candidate for Congress. As the leader of multiple local and tribal governments, I fixed real problems and made life better for Alaskans. I managed police departments, aging sewer systems, ports, rural housing, and other things. No other candidate knows Alaskans’ day to day challenges on the ground like me. Alaskans are tired of extreme politics, especially with today’s inflation and energy crisis. I’m a no-drama, battle-tested problem solver balancing competing needs and rights. I’m the fighter that Alaska needs. Vote for Gregg. Thank you.
J. R. Myers
Candidate Statement: Good morning, fellow Alaskans. This is J.R. Meyers from Soldotna, Alaska. I’m just asking for your vote in the upcoming special election. I believe in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I also believe in fiscal restraint and public accountability that the government, the people we elect are there to serve us, and that we should hold them accountable. So I hope everyone registers and votes and go check out my website at johnrichardmyers.com. johnrichardmyers.com. Thank you very much. Hope to see you on the campaign trail.
Occupation: Heavy equipment operator with the state DOT
Residence: Near Copper Center
Candidate Statement: My name is Jason Williams and I’m running for Congress. I believe that Alaska needs strong individuals such as myself to represent them at the federal level. People who understand Alaskans are independent by nature. They have a strong connection to the environment and traditional rights, such as hunting and fishing activities. I believe that Alaskans need representation who will fight for their ability to develop their natural resources and participate in the global and national economies going forward without onerous government intervention. I hope that you’ll vote for me in this election. Thank you.
Party: I’m a Constitutionalist and a Republican
Occupation: I’m a gold miner, equipment operator, truck driver, mechanic, welder
Residence: Wiseman Village
Candidate Statement: Hello Alaska, this is Jay Armstrong and I’m running to be your Congressman. Our January 3, 1959 statehood agreement is not entirely constitutional. Nothing in our constitution gave Congress the power to require a territory to vote and give away our lands, waters, resources and basically our sovereignty to them in order to become a state. The Federal Reserve that is private and are supposed to debt to them — it’s way overdue for an audit and our articles of amendments that are commonly called our civil rights or a Bill of Rights, those are off limits to the federal government, all of them. I’m a constitutionalist all the time, every time. If you want to be more free, vote for me. I’m Jay Armstrong and I approve this message.
Occupation: Natural resources attorney
Residence: South Anchorage
Candidate Statement: Hi, I’m Jeff Lowenfels. Gardening is just my hobby. In real life, I ran Yukon Pacific’s gas pipeline project, working with all the federal agencies here and in Washington, D.C. to obtain its permits. I practice land and natural resources law and was managing partner of a law firm with offices in Fairbanks, Anchorage, Juneau and Washington, D.C, and I represented all of the state’s resources agencies as an assistant attorney general. I actually know how to work with laws and regulations and deal with the federal government too. I have the skills and the experience to ensure Alaska’s interests are remembered during the House legislative process, and to help Alaskans deal with the federal government here. The fact that I can garden too, doesn’t hurt.
Age: My age qualifies
Candidate Statement: I am a conservative; I do not have a campaign website at present and possibly won’t. Allow me the opportunity to add that if the public desires they can visit the website: alaskaasks.org and read what some of the candidates support. It is Jon Corbett’s questionnaire.
Occupation: Emergency Shelter Director
Candidate Statement: I’m John Coghill, and I’d like to serve the people of Alaska in Washington D.C. to help us serve as the best host of this wonderful geography that the world holds in wonder, to honor our diverse cultures, and grow our economy. To serve the United States as the best Arctic and Pacific place in the world, to slow the spending in America, while improving the free market economy and turn the tide of socialism. To be a part of practicing honorable civic discourse, and serving the constituents needs throughout this great state. It’d be my privilege. Thank you.
Occupation: State legislator
Candidate Statement: I’m Senator Josh Revak. As a combat-wounded veteran tanker in the army I know how to fight. As a member of Team Don Young for six years, I know how to work hard for Alaskans, and as a member of the Legislature, I know how to serve Alaskans, and I will serve you and all Alaskans from border to border with every fiber in my being if you give me the opportunity to do so. I’m Josh Revak, and I’m asking for your vote. I’ll fight hard like Congressman Young did and I’ll continue to put partisan politics aside and prioritize the people of Alaska. It would be an honor to serve you and our great nation and the people of Alaska in Congress. And as Don Young said, “I’ll win the battles that Alaska can’t afford to lose.”
Occupation: Paralegal and Traditional National Guardsman
Candidate Statement: My name is Laurel Foster and I’m a candidate in the Alaska special election for the U.S. House of Representatives. My purpose is to put the people of Alaska at the forefront of my campaign. Our democracy is structured to give power to the people to hold our constituents and leaders accountable. Motivation should not be the political needs of the parties or the organizations they serve. It should focus on the needs and wants of the people at the local, state and national level. Our constituents should reflect the people they represent, not the money, powers or political privilege that they come from.
Occupation: Executive Director for the Kuskokwim River Inter Tribal Fish Commission
Candidate Statement: Hello, my name is Mary Sattler Peltola. I’ve spent my life working for Alaska and Alaskans. I’m a Yup’ik fisheries advocate and Democratic former state legislator from Bethel. During my 10 years in the legislature, I chaired the Bush caucus and passed legislation that improved schools, fisheries and public health in rural communities. As a Native woman, I understand that Alaskans are a diverse people who need leaders who can unite us. We also need a federal government that helps stabilize our economy. My top priority is to improve Alaskans quality of life. That means supporting the entrepreneurial spirit and building an economy that supports the needs of living and future generations. The Yup’ik word “ikayuquluta” means working together. I’m ready to work for all Alaskans.
Occupation: Retired construction worker
Candidate Statement: Hello, Mike Milligan here. I’m a candidate for U.S. house. I live here in Kodiak. I’m a Democrat, and I’ve held elected office here. I’ve worked on the Alaska pipeline, and I’ve lived in various areas of the state. And I firmly believe that going into the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is a mistake not only for Alaska’s reputation, but will ultimately hurt our Alaskan oil industry. I propose that the citizens of Alaska start to think about negotiating for state-owned corridors that will connect various areas of our state. And as a U.S. congressman, that’s one thing that I would spend a lot of my energy towards, towards working for these state-owned corridors. Thank you, and I’d appreciate your vote.
Occupation: Business Executive and Investor
Candidate Statement: Hi, my name is Nick Begich, and I’m a pro-development, pro-jobs, pro-family candidate. I spent my career in the private sector, building new businesses, and helping grow opportunity for founders and their teams. I believe in the incredible potential of Alaska and its people. And I’m prepared to go to D.C. to make the business case for Alaska to the nation and the world. Whether it’s oil and gas, critical minerals, fishing, timber, tourism, we’re a resource state. This is not about a brand, a career or an ego. This race must be about you and your future in Alaska. Thank you for engaging and thank you for your vote.
Occupation: Commercial Fisherman
Candidate Statement: I live in Wrangell. My wife and I moved here in 1986. I am a commercial fisherman, I troll and gillnet for salmon, pot fish for shrimp and Dungeness crab, and longline for halibut.
Candidate Statement: Hello, Alaskans. My name is Robert Lyons from the Mat-Su Valley and I want to represent all of you with hard work, truth, transparency, dedication and determination. I vow a term limit so I won’t go to D.C. to be a part of their club, I’ll go to represent you. I’m adamantly pro-liberty. We’re known for rugged individualism here in Alaska and we’re known for action is well. Alaskans have always held on to the belief that all the people in this state have a responsibility to each other and our environment. That is self-evident. I believe a new age for Alaska has come where we as free people can take the reins of government back from the interests living far away and being ignorant of our daily lives and struggles, begin again to break through the barriers of opinion and hold to the truths of humanity. Unite and untie Washington, D.C. control from Alaskans’ future. Vote Bob, alaskansvotebob.com. Check me out. Thank you very much, Alaska.
Occupation: Councilman & Mayor Pro Tem, City of North Pole
Residence: North Pole
Candidate Statement: This is Santa Claus, North Pole councilman and special election candidate. I’m a former special assistant to the deputy police commissioner of New York City, member of FEMA’s National Defense Executive Reserve and director of the Terrorism Research and Communication Center. I support Medicare for All, the Child Tax Credit, student loan cancellation, lesbian, gay, and trans rights, women and children’s rights, the ADA, housing the homeless, protecting our fisheries and environment, respecting our First People’s sovereignty, funding infrastructure, especially broadband, public broadcasting, public health programs, reducing water and air pollution, ending oil and gas company subsidies, strengthening our defense and collaborating with Arctic nations regarding climate change. I’ll work across the aisle to find common ground, serving ALL Alaskans, especially our children. Please visit www.SantaClausforAlaska.com. Thank you.
Candidate Statement: Hello, this is Stephen Wright. I’m running for U.S. Congress as a Republican. I’m an Alaskan-born, retired Air Force veteran. I am pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, pro-small government and pro-freedom. I would like to accomplish four things while in Congress. First, abolish the Jones Act to reduce shipping costs for Alaska. Second, restore the US and Alaska oil production. Third, reduce federal land in Alaska, and fourth, reduce federal regulation on Alaskan industries. These are important key things for all of Alaska. As your representative, I look forward to serving you and the people of Alaska, and I have an America First agenda that will strengthen Alaska.
Occupation: Small business owner, principal & CEO of Tack 71 Strategies
Candidate Statement: Growing up in rural Alaska, coupled with my professional experiences makes me uniquely qualified to serve Alaskans in Congress. I represent the fabric of Alaska. I am a small business owner and former ANC executive. In 2018, I was nominated by President Trump and confirmed by the United States Senate to serve as the thirteenth assistant secretary of Indian Affairs at the U.S. Department of the Interior. I was the first Alaska Native to serve within the federal government. In this capacity, I have a track record of effective leadership that adds value to the constituencies that I serve. My career in advocating for Alaskans in Washington is what makes me uniquely qualified to serve Alaskans in Congress.
Occupation: Corporate contract services
Website: In development
Candidate Statement: Tired of getting screwed by both parties? I am. Lisa, can you provide a definition for the word “republican”? I’m a veteran national guardsmen and sworn defender of the constitution. So on civil rights, this I will defend. Fed up with feds treating Alaska like a colony, just exploiting our resources? So am I. It’s time to remind the feds they work for us. That means letting us work. Alaska is an oil and gas producer. Biden’s not just endangering national security, he’s taking food off our plates. Alaskans respect the land. We have the skill and the will. We just need the feds to get out of the way. Use your minds, vote for Heintz. Like the ketchup, with the t before the z.
I am running for the late Representative Don Young’s seat to continue the model he established throughout his career, Alaska’s Congressman for All Alaska. My years as President of the Alaska Municipal League, a membership of 160 towns and villages throughout Alaska gave me first hand knowledge of our Urban and Rural Communities needs as well as several decades of working in various locations throughout the State of Alaska on transportation projects.
The following candidates are running, but AKPM did not receive a response when reaching out:
- Dennis Aguayo
- Brian Beal
- Robert Brown
- John Callahan
- Lady Donna Dutchess
- Thomas Gibbons
- Karyn Griffin
- Andrew Halcro
- William Hibler
- John Wayne Howe
- Don Knight
- Anne McCabe
- Mike Melander
- Sherry Mettler
- Emil Notti
- Robert Ornelas
- Sarah Palin
- Silvio Pellegrini
- Maxwell Sumner
- David Thistle
- Ernest Thomas
- Richard Trotter
- Bradley Welter
- Adam Wool
Visit the Alaska Division of Elections website for a full list of the candidates running.
Image at the top: Forty-eight candidates are running for the Alaska U.S. House Seat. Photos courtesy of Alaska Public Media. Used with permission (2022).