Former Alaska state senator and Anchorage mayor, Democrat Mark Begich, is running for governor.
He told KMXT he’s been thinking about running for months, but made the final decision with family and friends last week.
“We literally sat and talked about it and felt that we should put aside our personal issues and desires and spend the next five and half months and campaign hard and run for governor, because I think there was a clear gap in people talking about the long-term.”
He says he see s legislators up for reelection looking a couple of years into the future and not projecting much further.
“We end up, or what I’ve seen so far in the last six months of people who’ve been wanting to run and running, it’s more of an argument about, well, you did this last year, and I gotta do this this year, and you didn’t put this in the budget, and I want this in the budget. If that’s all you do, you will never move Alaska to its potential.”
Begich says, so far, constituents have asked about his position on crime, the economy, fisheries, and the permanent fund. On that last item, he calls his solution simple.
He says the constitution should include an amendment protecting the PFD. He also proposes to inflation-proof the use of 10 percent of it, put 50 percent of the earnings to individual dividends, and direct the remaining 40 percent toward education.
“The public then knows they’re gonna get a dividend of some sort, and they know the percentage of money that will go toward it. It’s inflation proof for generations to come. And, third, it’s going to education, which is the greatest equalizer in our state.”
Begich says, as governor, he’d boost his role in the area of climate change. He says the state is “ground zero” when it comes to climate change and says the transition to renewable energy is one possible move forward.