Representative Don Young, legislator Sharon Cissna Face Off at Fairbanks Candidate Forum
Cissna repeatedly voted against resolutions to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil drilling during her time in the Legislature, but said her opposition was based on a proposed revenue split that she felt was unfair to the state.
Young said the House has voted to open ANWR a dozen times during his tenure, and that he’d push for another vote. If President Clinton hadn’t vetoed one of those efforts, he said, that oil would be flowing through the pipeline today.
“It should be done,” he said.
Young said the deficit has been created by “two wars and unbridled spending,” but said budget cuts won’t be enough to solve the problem. He said the U.S. needs to embrace policies that focus on manufacturing and natural resources to return to prosperity.
“We’ve become a nation of consumers, not producers,” he said.
Cissna said Congress needs to focus on putting Americans to work instead of subsidizing work done overseas. She said Alaska’s economy and approach to development should be a model.
“Our role is to make sure the nation uses Alaska as the example of how it should be done,” she said.
Young said he’s in favor of extending the Bush tax cuts, saying that money needs to remain with taxpayers to boost the economy. Cissna said rich Americans should carry a larger portion of the tax load to strengthen the middle class.
Both candidates said they’re unhappy with No Child Left behind, the federal education law they believe is a poor fit for Alaska.
Cissna and Young also both said they’re frustrated by the inability of Congress to do much of anything in recent years. Cissna said it’s time for an overhaul of how the state and federal government are managed. Young placed much of the blame on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who hasn’t been able to unify his colleagues, he said.
“This is probably the worst Congress I’ve ever been in,” Young said.
Contact Fairbanks Daily News-Miner staff writer Jeff Richardson at 907-459-7518.