When it comes to exercising his right to vote, Lester Atkinson goes in with an open mind.

“You got to get in there and sift through,” Atkinson said. “That’s going to be the challenge for all the voters.”

He said that’s why debates like Sunday’s — when Republican Senate hopefuls squared off at the Wendy Williamson Auditorium — are important.

Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell, Dan Sullivan and Joe Miller fielded questions from KTVA and Alaska Dispatch News reporters and from voters via social media.

“On which specific issues would you pledge to cooperate with the democrats?” asked ADN reporter Nathaniel Hertz.

On bipartisanship, Miller said he likely would not be wiling to work with democrats, even if the rest of the republican Senators urged him to.

“We have to have people again that are going to stand up and not be co-opted, aren’t going to vote with the Democrats, especially on amnesty,” Miller said.

On tackling illegal immigration, Sullivan said granting amnesty is not the correct route.

“The most humanitarian thing, in my view, is to reunite them with their families in their countries,” Sullivan said.

On infrastructure and other conditions in the Alaskan Bush, Treadwell says his record shows his stance.

“In the early 90s it was less than 40 percent of home had running water,” Treadwell said. “Today over 75 percent of homes have it and I have a record there. I’ve continued to push that.”

It was a lot of information for Atkinson to take in, but he said he hopes other voters take the time and energy necessary to vote responsibly, too.

“After things like this, I kinda sit down and take time and ruminate on them,” Atkinson said.

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