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Meet Aaron Lojewski, data slayer

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Aaron Lojewski, candidate for House District 5.

ALASKA, SHAKE HANDS WITH YOUR NEXT GENERATION OF LEADERS

Aaron Lojewski is heading out the door to go door-to-door campaign for House District 5. He’s on a roll.

Within minutes, he is talking to residents of Fairbanks about the state’s finances with the knowledge of an expert.

He doesn’t resort to political hyperbole. He’s got a fact-based message. He knows the difference between the Consitutional Budget Reserve, the Earnings Reserve, and the principle of the Alaska Permanent Fund. And he doesn’t waste any time going to houses where he knows people just don’t vote.

He can quote Jay Hammond on the origins and strategy of the fund, and how it was intended to work. Aaron doesn’t just recite statistics: He has spent the past five years thinking through the state’s finances with the passion of a numbers expert who cares about Alaska and has taken the time to look at its budget problems from every angle.

People who know Aaron tell you he is serious about winning his race for House. Competitive by nature, he has studied and understands the science of campaigning, has a feel for the rhythms of the campaign cycle, and sticks to the high road.

By days, he knocks on doors and listens to what constituents have to say. In the evenings, he’s building his next walking list, analyzing his district, making notes on what he has heard, and keeping current on the issues.

This is his second run for House. The first time, at age 24, he had no name recognition at all, yet still took 48 percent of the vote. With shoe leather and hardly a penny to work with, he came within 100 votes of winning the 2012 primary.

This time, the 28-year-old Republican has pulled nearly 20 percent more votes than the Democrat incumbent in the August primary. With Aaron’s campaigning skills and smarts, the District 5 seat is in serious play for Republicans to take back. Things are looking good.

EARLY YEARS: SCOUTING, CAMPING, EXPLORING

Born in Greeley, Colorado, Aaron grew up in the Badlands of South Dakota and Northern Michigan, before his family moved to Colorado Springs, where he finished high school and then struck out on his own to Fairbanks to attend college.

He was always interested in politics and served as class president of his high school. Aaron was also interested in finance, as evidenced by his huge coin collection he started as a child. “Wheat pennies — I have a lot of them,” he says.

“I learned about inflation from collecting coins,” he says. “I saw how copper coins became zinc, and how quarters went from silver to copper, and dollars went from gold to paper.”

He also learned the definition of the word “crooked” when he heard his father say, “Watch out for that Bill Clinton guy — he’s crooked.”

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Aaron Lojewski, cub scout, (looks even younger without a beard, he says.)

The young Aaron was also involved in Boy Scouts, hiking and camping throughout his youth in northern Michigan woods and across Colorado.

When he took on studies the University of Alaska Fairbanks, there was no messing around: He finished his undergraduate Finance degree in just three years, powering through the summer classes to make the most of his time, because when he does something, he fully commits.

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Aaron Lojewski, boy scout

Aaron had a lifelong dream to travel to Australia, and he spent several months exploring the country while also in the middle of a masters degree program at UAF.

Australia, although hotter, drier, and at the other end of the world, reminded him of Alaska, with its vast areas of wilderness and a few city centers. The difference, of course, is that in Australia, everything outside the cities is pretty desolate.

He found Australians to be friendly, even in the big cities, but he also became aware that racism is still a problem in that nation, even more so than our own. He studied the Australian version of Social Security, which is more privatized, and liked what he saw. He also thinks they do a pretty good job with their street roundabouts — something Alaskans can still struggle with.

Finishing his masters in resource economics, Aaron wanted to remain in Fairbanks after he graduated, so he chose a career in real estate. Just two weeks ago, he left his job to concentrate on his campaign full time.

IT’S THE BUDGET

What is he hearing from constituents in District 5? There are a whole lot of Alaskans who do not see the need for the government to “garnish” their Permanent Fund checks as it is doing through the governor’s veto pen. But there are others who are OK with that, but only if it’s necessary.

As for Aaron, he doesn’t think it’s necessary right now. The reserves the State is sitting on will last a few more years, and there are still cuts that can and should be made to state spending. He doesn’t think restructuring the Permanent Fund is needed at this time, and that lawmakers may be making it more complicated than it needs to be.

If you are in Fairbanks you can meet Aaron Lojewski this evening (Sept. 12) at the House Majority Fundraiser at the Regency Hotel, from 5-7 pm. He’ll have his own fundraiser at Grizzlies in Fairbanks on Sept. 26.

Aaron’s campaign page will have more fundraisers listed in the weeks ahead, and it shows just how savvy, fresh, and serious this campaign is. It also has an all-important donate button. This finance guru is looking for help in taking his message to Juneau.

 

 

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Written by

Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

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