Local News

Senate candidate Dan Sullivan stops in Ketchikan

Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Dan Sullivan made a campaign stop in Ketchikan on Wednesday, and laid out some of his plans if he wins his bid for the federal seat now held by Democrat Mark Begich.

Reducing federal regulations to allow more resource development and encourage businesses is a big part of those plans, but Sullivan also talked about repealing the Affordable Care Act.

Sullivan had a full schedule for his one-day stop in Ketchikan. He started with a news conference, toured the shipyard, scheduled a meet-and-greet later in the evening, and – like many candidates tend to do – spoke to the local Chamber of Commerce, where one potential point of confusion was cleared up right away.

“I will go ahead and introduce our speaker, Dan Sullivan. He is NOT the mayor of Anchorage,” said Chamber Business Manager Chelsea Goucher. “He has however been attorney general for the State of Alaska, DNR commissioner, and he was an assistant secretary of state under Condoleezza Rice during the Bush administration.”

The other Dan Sullivan, who is the Anchorage mayor, is running for Lieutenant Governor.

After his introduction, Sullivan talked a little about why he is running for U.S. Senate. He said one of the biggest reasons is his belief in public service. Sullivan said he also wants to help create a better atmosphere for resource development, which is a large part of Alaska’s economic base, and make sure that today’s youth have opportunities to succeed.

“I’m going to get a little more political here, but that’s because I see an agenda, with what I call the President Obama-Harry Reid agenda, that is undermining that opportunity,” he said.

For example, Sullivan noted a large federal deficit, and what he described as federal overreach and the curtailment of Second Amendment rights.

As the Alaska Department of Natural Resources commissioner, Sullivan said he worked to resolve litigation over Point Thomson, and created a timber task force that made recommendations to increase logging in the state. As attorney general, he worked with the governor to launch the Choose Respect campaign, and was part of Alaska’s legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act.

Sullivan addressed the health care reform act, often referred to as Obamacare, during the

earlier news conference. He said that, as senator, he would work to repeal the bill. He did admit though, that even with a Republican majority in the Senate, there likely wouldn’t be enough votes to override a presidential veto.

Mark Begich voted for the Affordable Care Act, but since then has suggested changes. He most recently called for a new level of health plans offering lower premiums with higher deductibles.

During the Chamber event, one audience member asked Sullivan about the Pebble Mine, and the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s ruling against that proposed Bristol Bay project. Sullivan said the developers should have been allowed to continue with the state permitting process.

“Whether you like the idea of Pebble Mine or you couldn’t stand it, the idea that the EPA could come into the state under the Clean Water Act and pre-emptively state that this swath of state land should or shouldn’t be open for resource development, even though they haven’t seen the plan and even though it’s very dubious where they’re getting their authority to do that, I think is very troubling,” he said. “It gives them carte blanche.”

Sullivan also was asked about the wetlands permitting process through the Army Corps of Engineers, and he said he helped start the state’s push to take over wetlands permits.

Sullivan is running in the Republican primary. Also running for that party’s nomination are Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, and Joe Miller. Miller is the 2010 Republican nominee for Senate who lost to Lisa Murkowski’s write-in campaign.

The primary election is Aug. 19.

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