Fairbanks hosts GOP candidate forum for U.S. House Seat

Published: Apr. 23, 2022 at 3:33 PM AKDT|Updated: Apr. 26, 2022 at 9:47 AM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - GOP Candidate Forum, Day 3. Updated Monday, April 25, 2022. Alex Bengel reporting.

Hosted at the Westmark Fairbanks Hotel and Conference Center, the Alaska Republican Party’s State Convention held a forum for five Republican candidates who are currently running for the late Don Young’s seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The candidates present were Sarah Palin, Nick Begich, John Coghill, Tara Sweeney and Josh Revak.

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The group discussed included the Republican Party’s agenda, Alaska’s economic future, and transgender athletes in sports.

Candidates were asked how they would ease inflation.

Sweeney responded, “We need a fighter who has a vision for Alaska, and to fight against this administration, their flawed environmental and energy policies that are strangling Alaska’s energy production.”

“I would do, of course, whatever I could do to continue to responsibly develop our God-given resources and make sure that the Feds understand what Alaska has to offer,” Palin said.

Begich said, “The national debt is the biggest long-term national security threat to this country, and there appears to be no desire, on the right or the left, to contain this. I will be the voice of reason.”

In response to a later question, Revak discussed his Republican values, saying, “My values boil down to individual liberties. I put my life on the line for freedom. I was wounded in combat. I just about gave my life. I joined after 9/11 to secure the freedoms of our nation. That’s why I joined and why I fight.”

When asked who they would rank after themselves on a ranked-choice ballot for U-S Representative, four of the candidates chose former state senator John Coghill from Fairbanks, with Sarah Palin selecting both Coghill and Revak.

Coghill, called upon last, declined to choose. “Those of us on this stage have to run as a team. I’ll tell you why. We have to have all four of those slots filled. We really, truly do, and that’s one of the reasons I got into this race,” he said.

After the event, each of the candidates were asked what they would like independent voters and voters unaffiliated with a party to know about the Alaska Republican Party.

Palin said, “You read the planks of the Republican platform, and that is Alaska. It’s all about freedom, independence, protecting those and developing our natural resources, and not diminishing the will of the people. That’s the foundation of the Republican Party, whereas Democrats, it’s all about controlling the people.”

Meanwhile, Coghill said, “The Republican Party stands firm on constitutional integrity and the values of life and the value of national defense, which are important to all Alaskans, so you don’t want to alienate other people. You want to enlist them, but people have differences of opinion, right?”

“I can’t speak for the Alaska Republican Party. I would hope that Alaskan voters look at my record, my professional experience, my commitment to Alaska and my track record,” Sweeney explained, adding, “As Alaskans, I stand before the voters ready to be judged.”

Revak recalled his military service, explaining, “You know, when I served in Iraq, and bullets were flying at us, I didn’t care whether the guy to my right or left was a Republican or a Democrat. We were Americans and we had a job to do together for America, and I think legislative service is similar. Certainly, in Congress, I would take a similar approach.”

As for Begich, he told us, “There are so many nonpartisan and undeclared voters throughout the state of Alaska, but I think what’s more important than one’s party affiliation are their values, and I would submit to the people of Alaska that the Republican Party’s values are conservative values. They’re values that represent the heart and soul of Alaska.”

At the convention, the party officially endorsed Nick Begich for the position.

The Democratic National Convention will take place in Seward May 6th through May 8th.

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