Over 100 hundred people showed up for a debate between two candidates running in the Democratic primary for Alaska's lone spot in the U.S. House of Representatives. Independent Alyse Galvin and Democrat Dimitri Shein squared off on topics ranging from jobs and the economy to renewable energy.
The most striking difference between Galvin and Shein during Tuesday’s debate was healthcare.
“I put everything on the table," Galvin said. “I am willing to look at "Medicare for all," "Medicaid for all," whatever it's going to take to ensure that every single Alaskan has a plan that will ensure that we know how to find care when we need it and that it is adequate care.”
Shein said “Medicare for all” is the only route he wants Congress to take on healthcare.
"Everything on the table is not a specific proposal," he said. "Because when you say everything is on the table, the status quo apparently is on the table as well."
Shein consistently went back to single-payer healthcare, claiming it would be cheaper than what the government currently spends on all healthcare initiatives. Shein also took a hard stance on repealing President’s Donald Trump's tax bill passed last year.
“Those tax cut should be repealed and we should have a better tax structure where we close tax loopholes and we should be pursuing a policy that gives a real tax cut tax cut to middle class Americans and we should be working on creating a better safety net for those, the most disadvantaged in our society.”
Galvin didn’t take a hard stance on repealing Trump’s tax plan, but Shein’s pushed her on the topic. Galvin eventually said she would be in favor of repealing the bill. But she said that’s not the solution for a fair tax policy.
“I would rather see a whole look at that over," she said. "Frankly we need to ensure that the government is not getting more in debt. So I would be wanting to be careful about that. However, certainly we don't need to give away any dollars to corporations.”
Shein and Galvin also sparred over climate change and resource development. Galvin took a centrist stance on the topic, supporting climate change action, but she also advocated for oil exploration and drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
“If we can prove up and there is a permitting process that is extensive, that I do believe it must go through, any project, if we can prove that we can responsibly explore for that oil, I approve for us get those jobs," she said.
She added that she is disappointed in the amount of revenue Alaska is receiving from oil development in ANWR.
Shein did not comment on ANWR opening, saying it already passed and he does not need to campaign on it. He did advocate for rapidly moving away from fossil fuels.
“We don't have to sacrifice our values of moving away from burning fossil fuels and toward renewable energy,” he said. “We simply have to communicate our position better. Renewable energy is a source of income for Alaskans.”
Galvin says she shares the goal of moving toward renewable energy, but she says the industry doesn’t need federal subsidies to progress.
Both candidates agreed on several issues and topics. Galvin and Shein expressed outrage at the Trump administration’s current immigration policies and each agreed they would not accept any money from corporate PACs.
Galvin said she has raised over a half a million dollars for her campaign. The Federal Election Commission shows that she had just under $300,000 at the end of March. Shein did not mention how much money he’s raised so far, but the commission shows he raised a little over $60,000. Congressman Don Young raised roughly $600,000 thousand during that time.
The Alaska Public Offices Commission will provided updated campaign finance reports on each candidate by the end of July.