Juneau hosts GOP forum for congressional race

The forum included (left to right) John Coghill, Tara Sweeney, moderator Benjamin Brown, Josh Revak and Nick Begich III.

Juneau, Alaska (KINY) — Republican Women in the Capital hosted a GOP forum Monday night for a select group of candidates to succeed the late Don Young.

The Juneau Group has invited five candidates – former Governor Sarah Palin, former Senator John Coghill, Senator Josh Revak, Nick Begich III and Tara Sweeney.

Former Governor Palin did not attend the event, which was held at the Baranof Hotel.

By way of introduction, each candidate was asked why they were running.

Coghill first spoke on the issue, as posed by moderator Benjamin Brown, saying his 22 years in the legislature were pivotal.

“Over those years, I learned several things,” Coghill said. “There are a lot of people in Alaska who get up every morning to make Alaska work. And I appreciate that. Another thing I learned is to get along with people and maintain the integrity of what you believe in. I was able to do this over a period of 22 years. So when people say I can do it, that’s fine. I can say that I did that. The experience I have is the best thing I have to bring to the table.

Sweeney, the former assistant secretary of the interior for Indian Affairs, said she was running for the seat because she believes “Alaska needs collective leadership in Washington DC. I grew up in rural Alaska, and that helped shape my perspective, the kind of leadership that I exercise in my day-to-day work life, and that’s one of collaboration and bringing people together. . What we’re hearing across the state is that people are politically tired and they’re tired, and they want the leadership to start bringing Alaskans together.

Revak, a state senator and former member of Young’s staff, said his military service and service in the legislature are important factors voters should consider.

“I served in the military, and I think that’s a really good qualifier,” Revak said. “But I also worked for Congress for eight years, worked for Congressman Young, worked for Senator Sullivan, and then served in the state legislature for the past four years. I think military service certainly matters.

Begich said he was a conservative, despite a surname consistently tied to Democratic politics in the state. He also highlighted his business experience.

“I was raised conservative,” Begich said. “People ask me how the hell does a Begich become a conservative Republican. I was raised that way… I went to Baylor as an undergrad and got a business degree, and business is where I spent my career. I worked in investor relations for a publicly traded company and was the interface between senior management and Wall Street analysts.

Ballots were mailed from April 27. In the special election, you will vote for only one candidate and must return your ballot by June 11. Your ballot must include your signature, an identifier and a witness signature.

In-person early and mail-in voting is available in select locations starting May 27.

You can now deliver your ballot in person at any of the five regional offices in Juneau, Anchorage, Wasilla, Fairbanks and Nome.

Melvin B. Baillie