Harry Crawford Challenges Senator Bettye Davis

Photo courtesy of the Harry Crawford campaign.

Former state representative Harry Crawford is running for State Senate in District M against Senator Bettye Davis, who has served for more than a decade. Crawford says he better represents the new District M, which was reformed during redistricting, and he's going door-to-door in hope of winning the seat in the upcoming primary election.

Most nights, Harry Crawford can be found walking around East Anchorage with campaign pamphlets and a friendly smile.

Tonight he' going door-to-door in his own neighborhood, Chugach Foothills, where voters recognize him.

Back at his modest split-level home, Crawford has turned his dining room table into central command for his campaign for Senator for District M.

On the wall beside his dinner table is a framed print featuring John F. Kennedy in a sailing skiff. It features a quote, “One man can make a difference and every man should try.”

A motto Crawford says he lives by.

A retired iron worker, Crawford, drove up the Alcan Highway in 1975 from his hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana to work on the Trans Alaska Pipeline. He first tried to make a difference in politics when he ran for State Representative in his district in 1996, against then speaker of the House Ramona Barnes. It took him three campaigns to unseat Barnes in 2000, and he's remained in politics since. After serving as a state representative, he ran against Congressman Don Young in 2010, but lost. Now he's running against Senator Bettye Davis Crawford says, if he's elected he'll fight for forward funding for Anchorage schools.

“There's no good reason to hand people out pink slips in the spring and then rehire them in the summer. If we're going to fund them anyway, let's fund them right through so that they are not worried about losing their jobs,” Crawford said.

Crawford says he also will push to increase the base student allocation. On lowering taxes on oil companies, Crawford says taxes are not the issue.

“What we have to do is get a gas pipeline so that we can sell our products around the Pacific Rim. I think the key to more oil production and a better life for Alaskans is to get an all Alaska gas line to tidewater so that we can market our gas plus have a ready supply of gas for people in Southcentral Alaska and the Interior,” Crawford said.

On affordable housing, Crawford says it's something the market will solve the problem.

“There's never been a better time since I've been in construction to actually build something because the interest rates are so low. So, if the banks are actually ready to loan then I'm sure if there's a market for more rental housing and more single family's then they'll be built,” Crawford said.

As far as health care goes, Crawford says we should do something like his home state does.

“I'm originally from Louisiana. It's about the cheapest healthcare in the whole country. Yet they have some of the better outcomes for their healthcare in the whole country. And the reason why is because they have a very large state run health system through the LSU School of Medicine. Big teaching hospitals. They're much cheaper. Ours is the most expensive health care in the country. Louisiana's is the cheapest, yet I don't think there's a dime of difference in the care,” Crawford said.

Crawford says he'll push for a medical school and teaching hospital in Alaska. But the most important thing he believes is job creation, which he sees as intrinsically linked to a gas pipeline. Crawford will appear on the primary ballot, running against fellow democrat Bettye Davis on August 28.

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Daysha Eaton is a contributor with the Alaska Public Radio Network. Daysha Eaton holds a B.A. from Evergreen State College, and a M.A. from the University of Southern California. Daysha got her start in radio at Seattle public radio stations, KPLU and KUOW. Before coming to KBBI, she was the News Director at KYUK in Bethel. She has also worked as the Southcentral Reporter for KSKA in Anchorage. Daysha's work has appeared on NPR's "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered", PRI's "The World" and "National Native News". She's happy to take assignments, and to get news tips, which are best sent via email. Daysha became a journalist because she believes in the power of storytelling. Stories connect us and they help us make sense of our world. They shed light on injustice and they comfort us in troubled times. She got into public broadcasting because it seems to fulfill the intention of the 4th Estate and to most effectively apply the freedom of the press granted to us through the Constitution. She feels that public radio has a special way of moving people emotionally through sound, taking them to remote places, introducing them to people they would not otherwise meet and compelling them to think about issues they might ordinarily overlook.

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