Six candidates for governor faced off in a debate Friday night in Kodiak, which was intended to be fisheries-only, but occasionally strayed into oil and gas issues. The fisheries debate is a 20-year tradition in Alaska’s largest fishing port.
The three Republicans, Sean Parnell, Ralph Samuels and Bill Walker, introduced themselves to the commercial fisheries audience:
— (Goobers 1 :36 sec "Our administration has been … that is two-thirds empty.")
The three Democrats made their pitches; first Ethan Berkowitz, then Hollis French and Bob Poe:
— (Goobers 2 :34 sec "Look around you … while I was there.")
The idea of finfish farming in Alaska proved universally unpopular, as expressed by Walker, Parnell and Berkowitz:
— (Goobers 3 53 sec "It scares me to death … not helping their economy.")
The candidates addressed the issue of bringing younger people into the industry, especially in light of privatization. Here are Poe, French and Samuels:
— (Goobers 4 59 sec "Like all big changes … people in coastal communities.")
Berkowitz was the only candidate to come out firmly against the Pebble Mine, which would be situated at the headwaters of the valuable Bristol Bay salmon fishery. Fellow Democrat French said there’s no need to rush into developing it right now, while Poe said it should be taxed appropriately if it is built. All three Republicans said they would not trade a renewable resource, such as salmon for another, such as gold or copper, but all defended the permitting process for the mine, and want to see what Northern Dynasty’s plans actually are.