Kodiak Daily Mirror - Mallot seeking to become fist Democratic governor in more than a decade
  
Mallot seeking to become fist Democratic governor in more than a decade
Apr 18, 2014 | 176 views | 0 0 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Alaska gubernatorial candidate Byron Mallott, right, talks with Kodiak City Council member Charlie Davidson, Thursday during a campaign fundraising event at the Sun'aq Tribal Hall. (Drew Herman photo)
Alaska gubernatorial candidate Byron Mallott, right, talks with Kodiak City Council member Charlie Davidson, Thursday during a campaign fundraising event at the Sun'aq Tribal Hall. (Drew Herman photo)
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If his run for Alaska’s top office succeeds, Byron Mallott would be the state’s first Democratic governor since 2002.

In Kodiak through Saturday to attend ComFish Alaska and several campaign events, Mallott said his long record in state politics government and business makes him a good choice to bring different sides together.

“I believe my experience will allow me to reach out, understand and work with Alaskans on the issues we need to address,” he said.

Mallott grew up in Yakutat and was elected mayor there at the age of 22. He also served briefly as mayor of Juneau, but left the position to focus on his concurrent job as executive director of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation.

Among his other positions in the public sphere was his term as president of the Alaska Federation of Natives. As a business leader he served as CEO of Sealaska Corporation and director of the Alaska Commercial Fisheries and Agricultural Bank. He worked in the administration of Gov. Bill Egan and co-chaired Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s successful 2010 write-in re-election campaign.

Mallott said he’s running for governor because of his love for Alaska, which faces “some responsible, some difficult choices” for its future.

He said the work of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council has made a positive difference, but the state needs to have a big role in the control of renewable resources.

“Thank goodness they are renewable,” he said. “That’s one of the reasons Alaska opted for statehood.”

Mallott wants to see salmon runs protected and increased, Alaska seafood marketing supported and more research and development supported to add value to seafood.

“We don’t do a lot of that. I think there’s a lot of opportunity,” he said.

Calling the Bristol Bay red salmon run a “precious” economic and cultural resource, Mallott said he supports giving the Legislature a voice in mine permitting.

“I oppose the Pebble Mine,” he said.

He also plans to vote against the legalization of recreational marijuana on the August ballot. He wants to avoid enabling abuse of yet another substance in a state that already has a severe problem with legal alcohol.

On the state minimum wage, Mallott wants to see a proposed raise on that same ballot.

“I think the Legislature should leave it alone and let the initiative go forward,” he said.

Mallott said he opposes Senate Bill 21, which implements more tax credits for the oil and gas industry.

Close to home

“Education is my campaign’s highest priority,” Mallott said, noting the role of the last three Republican administrations in creating the state’s current budget shortfalls.

He said he would work hard to change the cycle to make education come first and give school districts time to plan budgets and hiring.

“There has to be certainty in funding,” he said.

Mallott wants to partner with the federal government as Arctic traffic increases and the Coast Guard takes a larger, focused part in Alaska.

“What is happening in the Arctic is a game changer for Alaska, the nation and the world,” he said.

He said the state should take the lead in the way the north develops.

“The University of Alaska should be the premier Arctic research university in the world,” he said.

Regarding the Alaska Aerospace Corporation, which operates the Kodiak Launch Complex at Narrow Cape, Mallott said he favors the state supporting the venture responsibly as long as it can be a future assett, but noted, “Everything is going to have to be on the table.”

In addition to choosing a governor in November, Kodiak voters will also be voting for a representative in redrawn House district shared with Mallott’s hometown of Yakutat.

Mallott said that although Yakutat is a Southeast town, the pairing with Kodiak will work.

“The district is still coastal,” he said. “I think it has the appropriate integrity.”

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