An Anchorage Democrat who hopes to take on Rep. Don Young for the U.S. Congress seat is in Ketchikan for a few days, listening to voters and getting his message out.
Matt Moore is one of five U.S. House candidates on the Aug. 28 primary ballot. He came to Alaska in 1987 working with an oil field service firm.
Moore said he decided to run for Congress this year because he sees opportunities that have been missed. One example he gave is additional federal funding for the Alaska Marine Highway System.
“The ferry system could be part of the department of transportation, and we could be eligible for funds for that,” he said. “I know in the past, they’ve done some earmarking, but to get direct funding for it, I would have thought before 38 years have elapsed, we’d have been able to do that before.”
Moore said federal involvement also could help push a gas pipeline forward for rural residents.
“We’ve always thought of gas pipelines as running from north to south, but really we need to think of those as being from sources to places of need,” he said. “No one’s really pushed that, so we have places out in Bush Alaska and Interior Alaska as well where we don’t have very good sources for energy.”
Moore said Alaska should use and add to our resources here rather than ship the raw materials, as well as develop new markets. He said that as Alaska’s representative, he would be able to help find new directions for the state.
Moore said he’s in Ketchikan to hear about local concerns, such as timber, fishing and tourism.
He said his business background sets him apart from the other Democrats on the Aug. 28 ballot.
“What I’ve been doing since 1992 is running my wife’s medical practice. In 2000 I opened up a business. I do consulting with other physicians, and teach them how to run their businesses more efficiently,” he said. “I also have a degree in geology, and so the amount of work I’ve done up on the Slope before, and knowing what we’re going to be doing in the future, I think it’s going to be one of the things that’s going to be very helpful.”
Moore says he’d like to take on Don Young.
“I kept on watching this fellow and saying, ‘He’s representing me?’ I hear him say, ‘I represent all Alaskans,’ and I’m not seeing him doing that,” he said. “If you look at where he gets the majority of his donations from, it’s out of state. At that point, I said, ‘Well, if he’s been doing this for 38 years and the mean age of an Alaskan is 38 years, I think it’s time for a change.’ That and I don’t like being told what to do.”
Moore took exception to Young’s repeated argument that seniority matters.
“I think that was a good argument that held water maybe 8 years ago or so, but now when you look at it and you look at what committees he’s on and which ones he chairs, the only one he chairs right now is the subcommittee for Indian Affairs,” he said. “His power has gone. He’s reached his zenith and he’s passed it. I think he’s actually on the decline in his career.”
Moore said that if elected, he would look carefully at federal spending, particularly when it comes to military action. He said wars are expensive, and not always productive. Moore said he also would push for moving more military bases to Alaska, because it would be strategically beneficial.
He said he supports President Obama in the general election.
“It’s interesting, because there’s one candidate that I think very few people can identify with and he’s the challenger,” he said. “I have a tough time identifying with him in any way, shape or form. I think he’s brought up a few good issues, and then I look at a president who is trying his best who was given a stacked deck.”
While in Ketchikan, Moore will meet with local residents at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers hall, tour the hospital and shipyard, travel to Metlakatla and talk with visitors at Saturday’s Blueberry Arts Festival.
The other Democratic House candidates are Debra Chesnut of Fairbanks, state Rep. Sharon Cissna of Anchorage, Don Urquidi of Eagle River, and Frank Vondersaar of Homer.