Former Sitka Mayor Scott McAdams – who was the Democratic nominee for U-S Senate last year – has formed a non-partisan interest group with the expressed purpose of providing financial support to candidates who commit to putting Alaska’s communities and people ahead of out-of-state interests. And the group – named “It’s About Alaska”– now on file with the Alaska Public Offices Commission — is already touching a chord in other parts of the state.
McAdams says he believes that everything that is done politically must be looked at in light of what’s best for the state itself. He says natural resource issues first come to mind.
There’s going to be a lot of outside political money invested in Alaska – trying to buy our elections in 2012, 2014 and beyond. It’s About Alaska will work to elect people that know that Alaska’s economy needs new investment – in our sewers, and our streets and our schools. And not a giveaway to outside, nonresident millionaires.
McAdams’ non-partisan approach to government is not new in the state. It largely reflects the point of view of former governor Wally Hickel. Malcolm Roberts of Anchorage, who worked with Hickel, says he was part of a small group that met informally last year to draft and release a statement of principles called the Alaska Agenda – calling for a new emphasis on the state’s interests in political activity.
The key is that we stand for Alaska first, we stand on our own feet. We are not intimidated by outside forces whether they’re government or corporate or non-profit. But we stand together for Alaska.
Roberts says he is looking at issues on which most Alaskans already agree –education, the economy, the environment. And, like McAdams, he sees protecting those things as a major priority.
Natural Resources are the key to our economy. We have a remarkably healthy economy right now compared to the rest of the country. We have a gorgeous environment – I think unmatched. We have all these blessings, but we need to be united to put Alaska first and to make sure that special interests don’t dominate us.
Neither Roberts nor McAdams is opposed to resource development. However, both emphasize the state must focus on watching out for its own interests. McAdams says he hopes to be involved at the ground level of political campaigns – to help candidates spread their messages.
And when somebody does stand up and say Our resources need to be developed for the benefit of the people in Wasilla, Our resources need to be developed for the people in Turnagin. Our resources need to be developed for the benefit of the people in Ketchikan. Not that our resources need to be developed to create a profit margin for a multi-national corporation.
Both are working in a non-partisan fashion, but Roberts is not critical of parties. However, he says he has not heard a drum beat from either major party on the issues he thinks Alaskans want to work on.