The Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders campaigns are preparing for the Alaska Democratic Caucus Saturday, and while neither candidate has dropped by Alaska for that purpose, one of them did spend a summer in the state.
After college, Clinton worked at a cannery in Valdez, and according to her interview on the Today Show, the experience was full of potentially rotten fish and the gig was, overall, a little suspicious.
“And they put me on this little conveyor belt where you had to pack the salmon, head-to-tail, head-to-tail. And I noticed, I mean, I know nothing about salmon, obviously, other than to eat it, which I love, but the way they looked, I didn’t know. And they were, like, green and black, they looked horrible. And so I went to the guy running the operation, and I said “Are you sure these are OK?” and he said “Just do the job, don’t ask any questions.” I said, “Well, they don’t look very good and they don’t smell very good.” And he just yelled at me and then when I left, I came back the next day, the whole operation was gone. So, I guess that was the equivalent of being fired.”
Years after that experience, Clinton’s director of state campaigns and political engagement, Marlon Marshall, explains that she’s the only presidential candidate to take a stand on protecting salmon and other natural resources in Bristol Bay.
“We, in terms of presence, have spoken out about issues that are important to folks in Alaska, such as she’s the only candidate to speak out actually against the Pebble Mine because she knows the impact it will have on the economic, cultural, and environmental importance of actually protecting the Birstol Bay.”
That’s one way to connect with voters in Alaska. Clinton’s campaign, like Bernie Sanders’, has faced the challenge of making contact with the many different communities that comprise Alaska. Marshall says he’s a big proponent of meeting people where they are.
“One, we’ve had about a handful of organizers in the state who’ve made trips across the state and really reached out to folks in person, but also we’ve done everything we can to make calls into those areas and rural villages and focus on talking about the issues that really affect those communities.”
He says for about four weeks they’ve been making a concentrated effort to travel around the state and talk to voters in preparation for Alaska’s Democratic Caucus.