In most statewide candidate debates, the focus is rarely on rural issues. Candidates get asked one, maybe two questions at the most that are important to rural Alaskans. Urban issues normally dominate debates.

But a forum in Naknek on Saturday, hosted by the Bristol Bay Fish Expo, turned the tables and was devoted entirely to rural issues that included Pebble Mine, commercial fishing, land development, tribal management and even honey buckets.

Initially, three candidates were scheduled to appear – Governor Bill Walker, the incumbent and an independent, Mike Dunleavy and Scott Hawkins, both Republicans. But two candidates, who submitted their paperwork on the deadline for filing for office, were added to the program – former U.S. Senator Mark Begich, a Democrat, and former Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell, a Republican.

All five flew to Naknek, an off-the-road system community in the heart of Bristol Bay. KTVA’s Rhonda McBride moderated the two-hour debate. You can watch it in its entirety below.



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