Undeclared candidate Elijah Verhagen runs for Alaska State Legislature District 6

Published: Oct. 19, 2020 at 4:08 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Elijah Verhagen is running to represent District 6 in the Alaska House of Representatives. This seat is currently held by Dave Talerico, who is not seeking reelection.

Verhagen said he is running because as someone born and raised in Alaska, he wants to see it succeed.

“I don’t want to saddle my generation, future generations, with an unnecessary amount of debt,” he said.

Verhagen has worked for four different Republican legislators. “I’m not content with the process and how it keeps playing out year after year, the budget, the drama of the two-party system. I am registered undeclared, and I’m running as a conservative undeclared candidate. I’ve been a lifelong Republican. For twelve years I’ve worked inside the party.”

He explained that 6300 voters in District 6 are registered Undeclared. “They all typically vote Republican or conservative, because that’s kind of who we are. We live in the rural areas of Alaska. We love to hunt and fish and harvest our own wood and timber and all these other things. We’re very in favor of our guns and our gun rights and all that Alaskan stuff.”

According to Verhagen, it’s hard for a lot of Anchorage legislators to fathom the stuggles that his rural district goes through. “The city of Eagle closes off for six months out of the year. The road closes off, and all they have is a plane in and out with mail once a day. So people pre-buy food, storage, they survive throughout the winter, most of them without cell phone reception, they pretty much have landlines and limited internet. And yet they choose to do that, and that’s fantastic. That’s a lot of my district.”

Verhagen said he believes that a change to the Permanent Fund Dividend formula should go to a vote of the people. “The reason why I firmly believe it is the people’s money is because in our constitution in Alaska we don’t have mineral rights like most other states do. We set up the Permanent Fund, where 25 percent of our royalties, what we’re collecting on the leases of our land, is going into the Permanent Fund to be used for the people. And so it’s not a handout, like many people say. It is a dividend, and a share of the land’s royalty wealth, and that belongs to the people.”

Verhagen wants to diversify state revenue so Alaska is not as dependent on oil prices. “When oil prices are low and production is not very high, we, as a state, take a major beating financially.”

Timber is one industry he discussed. “We import most of our timber in Alaska. And there’s things like pellets and wood chips and everything else that you could even use some of the old growth that is prone to forest fires, which we have abundance of, and you can do responsible forest management in Alaska.”

Verhagen is running against Vernon Carlson, Deborah Riley, Mike Cronk and Julia Hnilicka in the general election on November 3rd.

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