In a small room full of blue Begich signs, small crowd of people gathered to meet the senator, the first candidate in the campaign to visit Bethel. Begich says the office is building up a staff to lead the campaign around the region.
“And then we’re going to go work it. We’ll go up the river, we’re going to go into the villages, we’re going to have volunteers to help us, we’re about going everywhere to find people,” said Begich.
The office will support Begich, gubernatorial candidate Byron Mallott, and other democrats this fall. In brief comments to supporters, Begich highlighted his contributions to funding education and healthcare, along with his committee role in managing federal offshore fisheries. He says he’s working to get subsistence recognized in federal law.
“It’s not an afterthought, it’s the lifeblood of rural Alaska..making sure we make clear in fisheries policy that it’s part of the equation,” said Begich.
As Republicans attempt to take control of the Senate, Begich’s seat is seen as a high priority target. The race is attracting millions from political action committees across the country.
“We have to show the power of the vote is here. I’m going to be outspent, I know this at the end of the day. I’ll raise a lot of money, but they’ll outspend me. There’s two things. Between all of my opponents, I’ll raise more money in volume and individuals in Alaska. Second: We’ll have people power. We’ll have the people who make the difference. That’s how I’ve always won my elections,” said Begich.
Begichs’s three Republican challengers are Dan Sullivan, Joe Miller, and Mead Treadwell. Begich added that he’s gaining in seniority and that the senate has seen an influx of young people that will slow newcomers rise.
“Because he younger folks are now in charge. We’re shifting the deck. This is a once in a generation shift. It will shift again probably in 25 years, just like this one did. But for Alaska, we know, with a small delegation, how important this is, because we have to use our clout. Congressman Young, myself, and Senator Murkowski..to make sure we get deliverables back here,” said Begich.
Senator Begich also visited Napaskiak and met with the Kuskokwim Salmon Management Working Group.