ANCHORAGE - Republican Don Young, who has spent nearly 40 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, is being challenged by Democratic state Representative Sharon Cissna.
They met in a forum today, and their styles hardly could have been more different.
Young said, "Now some people don't agree with me, say I'm a buffoon. Maybe that's true. I don't know. They may say I'm arrogant. That may be true. Some say I'm bombastic; that may be true. Some say I'm argumentative. That may be true. But the reality is I speak for Alaska. And when I speak, they listen. I’ve said long and many times, they know Don Young. They may love me, they may hate me, but they all respect me."
While Young seemed to relish his combative image, Cissna talked repeatedly, although without specifics, about bringing people together.
"And I'm good at getting people together. People tend to trust me and they usually say yes, whenever I ask people to be involved in things like forums and that kind of thing."
At a forum sponsored by the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce, the Republican incumbent and Democratic challenger also differed on issues, including Obamacare.
Young said he’d vote to repeal it. "You can't reform this. You can't make a golf course out of a pigpen. It's that simple. This is a pigpen. It’s the worst piece of legislation I’ve ever experienced, ever watched being drawn up."
Cissna wants to amend Obamacare. "I don't think we can go backward, tear anything down. I think we have to build up the things that already have been passed."
They also differ on drilling for oil in ANWR.
Young said, "I will continue. We’ll introduce my bill again with the same number and I will get it passed, as I’ve done it before. And hopefully we'll have a Senate that will pass it. And a president who will sign it."
Cissna is opposed. "One of the most important resources we have is the non-renewable. And aren't we going to need that maybe 300 years from now? We need to be able to look at all of our resources and parcel them out over time. I say keep ANWR the way it is."
Alaskans can't say they don't have a choice.
The moderator asked the candidates which country poses the biggest problem for the United States.
Young said Iran, adding that he believes Israel will drop a nuclear bomb on the country if it achieves weapon-quality uranium processing.
Cissna said the United States poses the biggest problem to the United States, because Americans don't understand each other.