Win Gruening: What Alaska and America need now

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By WIN GRUENING

The recent passing of Rep. Don Young, our state’s longest-serving member of Congress, was a gut-punch to all Alaskans.  His seniority as Dean of the House and years of experience served Alaska well.  He was undeniably unique and his replacement will have big shoes to fill.

The August special election to complete the remaining five months of Young’s term and the November general election to choose his successor are occurring at a perilous time in the history of our state and nation.  

Alaska’s resource industries are under assault by Biden administration officials in their foolish war to eliminate American fossil fuels and over-regulate mining.  Even worse, America is becoming more dependent on oil and strategic minerals from foreign sources that are either hostile to the U.S, have little regard for environmental safeguards, or both.

Our country is divided like never before. Members of Congress must reverse, not  advance, the polarization that has plagued it for years. That is the only way Congress can rein in spending to moderate inflation, lower the cost of living, and help fully recover the U. S. economy.

It will take someone with uncommon qualifications to be effective at addressing these dual challenges. 

For that reason, Nick Begich, Republican candidate for Congress, will be my first choice on both ballots.

Unlike his uncles and namesake grandfather, Nick Begich is a life-long Republican. While he was born in Alaska, he was raised Outside by his maternal grandparents.  His conservative roots were evidenced early when he joined his high school Republican club as a ninth grader.  

He earned a BBA in Entrepreneurship from Baylor University and an MBA from Indiana University before entering the private sector in several endeavors. Today, as the CEO and founder of FarShore Partners, a global software development company with over 120 full-time employees, Nick is a self-made success story.  He returned to Alaska 20 years ago and resides in Chugiak, Alaska with his wife, Dharna, a pharmacist, and their 9-year-old son, Nicholas.

Ironically, Nick Begich has been criticized for the success he has earned (he lent his campaign $650,000) but voters should find it refreshing to connect with a candidate who became prosperous before getting into politics.

After co-chairing Don Young’s 2020 congressional campaign, Nick was one of the few candidates to declare his candidacy for Congress before Alaska’s lone House seat became vacant. Since Don Young’s passing, dozens of Johnny-come-lately’s have jumped into the race.  Meanwhile, for the past 10 months, Nick has crisscrossed the state, sometimes holding up to four events in one day, while listening to Alaskans articulate how their area can best be served in the next Congress. 

Nick’s skill in understanding other viewpoints, explaining his positions, and finding common ground has netted him an impressive list of endorsements from every area of the state, including the sole endorsement of the Alaska Republican Party. His familiarity with a wide range of issues from school choice to resource development to monetary policy and artificial intelligence will be an asset in a freshly elected House of Representatives that will include many new faces.

It’s very likely that next year both houses of Congress will be under Republican control, and it is in Alaska’s best interest to elect a member of that party.  A freshman Democrat will have little hope of positively influencing the direction of legislation that would benefit Alaska – especially considering the Biden administration has already demonstrated its intention to lock-up Alaska and its resources. 

Unlike President Biden, Nick Begich sees Alaska as the answer to America’s over-reliance on foreign oil and the key to America’s energy security.  He realizes that a balanced approach which moves the United States toward a “greener economy” necessitates producing oil, gas, and critical minerals that will support that effort.

No Democrat can or will effectively advocate that. And too many other Republican challengers lack the skill to do so.

Nick Begich believes that the future of Alaska and America are inextricably linked.  Alaska’s abundant resources can be developed responsibly to help make America a world leader again.

Electing Nick Begich to the U. S. Congress is the first step.

After retiring as the senior vice president in charge of business banking for Key Bank in Alaska, Win Gruening became a regular opinion page columnist for the Juneau Empire. He was born and raised in Juneau and graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1970. He is involved in various local and statewide organizations.

Reasons for ballot rejection: Signatures, postmarks

37 COMMENTS

  1. Trump was a businessman and got elected president and did a great job while under daily attack from the left/Democrats and RINO’s. We need a businessman like Nick to lead the way for Alaska and electing him to the US House of Congress is a good first step. He’s got our votes!

  2. You can keep your pet RINO. I’m not buying this line of garbage. Despite Suzanne’sbest efforts on his behalf was30pieces of silver enough??

  3. Well made commentary, Win. I have met Nick on at least six occasions and challenged him on various issues without forewarnings. He never fails to provide a reasonable, calm, well-delivered response reflecting broad understanding of issues. When he is unable to suggest a definitive solution then he always provides a rational strategy for managing any issue with a conservative perspective. Without reservation, I recommend we all give him our first-rank votes.

  4. What Alaska and America needed yesterday (indeed, 20 years ago when Billary crawled out from under their rock) was a Republican Party to fight for ALL the planks in their party platform, fight as brutally, viciously, and passionately as the Demonrats do, and spit out the RINO poison instead of elevating them to lofty positions of power. I really don’t know if a Begich can or will do that, and I’m not really interesting in any more experimental votes to find out. Trump endorses Palin. Palin is my #1 choice………and I wish there was no #2 choices available, but thanks to yet another RINO, here we are……….

    • the only experiment going would be to see how long Palin could stay in office before running off to the next big stage. Wake up.

    • Reggie, with all due respect to you, the Republican Party and Trump, this election is pretty clear cut. We have a Welfare Plantation Democrat. Also running is a former half term Governor who later endorsed Bill Walker and now appears to be detached from Alaska while at the same time being under informed about key issues. Then we have Nick Begich, a young man with an impressive successful background. I hope you will join me in voting Nick #1 and Sarah #2. How about it?

      • “…….How about it?…….”
        Sorry, Robert. I cannot and will not vote for a Begich any more than I can or will vote for a Kennedy, Clinton, Kerry, Cheney, et al. Looking back through the decades, I can’t think of any votes I’ve regretted in my life except my votes for Jimmy Carter and Ted Stevens (prior to 1988). I’ll chock those up to my inexperienced youth.

  5. I agree Reggie. All we hear is what a great guy he is, Walker in his earliest years was often referred to in the same way. Where has NBIII been all these years other than running as a RINO against Domboski in 2026?. Sarah is and has been vetted every minute of every day. Sarah and Trump are the two most VETTED people in the world. While Nick has been laying low all these years Sarah has been working hard getting PATRIOTS elected like Donald Trump, TED Cruz, Nikki Haley, Rand Paul, The Freedom Cacus and a whole lot of others. No wonder she does t hang around here, she can’t lead Crybabies, she has better things to do, to help Make American And Alaska Great Again. I don’t care if Trump is a Mean Tweeter or if Sarah has a personal life. I know who they are, and they are All In for Alaska and American. They have been working in and out office for U.S., for years.

    • “…….Sarah and Trump are the two most VETTED people in the world……..”
      Yup. Bloodied. Battered. Beaten about the entire body and spirit. Drives The Beast insane with rage. My kind of candidate. Somebody whose mere existence will drive us all over the cliff of civil war, because that’s what it’s going to take to get this ideological, cultural, political, spiritual, and moral war finished once and for all.

    • Sarge, We should agree that either Sarah or Nick would be a VAST improvement over Mary, right? So due to this crazy new voting scam, let us vote the Republicans as our first and second choice. For example, Nick # 1 Sarah #2 and leave Mary blank. Can we all just do this? I hope So!

      Thanks Sarge

  6. Nah, Thats not what Alaska needs and Win knows it. What Alaska needs is a reason for our young people to stay here to enter the workforce. Right now they are leaving in droves and its not because of low pay or poor working conditions or lack of good jobs. It is because here in the Largest State in the Union, property and homes are far far overpriced. Juneau has a completely laughable solution….they are building a bunch of ‘micro homes’ to go on the ‘micro lots’ that are currently available. This in what we boast is ‘the largest state’.

    • Bob, condominiums are not Juneau’s “completely laughable solution.” They have been getting built across North America for decades now. In any case, the size of homes is not dictated by the availability of land but rather, more generally, by cost. Its a simple fact the more remote the area, the higher the cost. Alaska is remote by definition. It costs even more to build in Antarctica or the Azores Islands.

      • Come on Wayne. I’ll tell you what, find me a house for sale in Juneau on a measly five acres….At any price. about the closest you will get is an offering of 1.2 acres with a mediocre house in North Douglas for 1.3 Mil. When you are done not finding one, do a MLS search in the upper peninsula of Michigan……

  7. He may or may not be conservative. He exhibited the opposite trait and extremely poor judgment in voting for Ethan Berkowitz for mayor. A principled conservative would not do that.

  8. I have yet to see anything like public service in Nick Begich’s record, but I do know his whole family gets rich of the government teat. Besides becoming successful in business, what else has he done? Since when do we send people directly from nothing to the House of Representatives? I hear a lot of talk, but not much to show.

    • Tamra, please try another perspective. There is no shortage of politicians with long and grand resumes of “public service” or volunteer work… which is basically experience spending the money of tax-payers. What most politicos lack is proven ability to succeed in business–that is, generating wealth rather than spending it. Its the trait that makes Trump an effective leader; he doesn’t hesitate to replace ineffective employees. Nick has this unique ability and it is a direly needed perspective in Congress.

    • Tamra, There is a major difference between people who enter into politics to serve and those who are in need of a job. We are besieged in this State and Nation by career politicians. People with little merit save for their ability to appeal to the voting public at election time. I like it when successful people take time to serve in politics because they bring their tools and skillset to work on the public’s behalf. It is a service to these folks, not a vocation. Nick fits this description well.

  9. Nick Begich is an unknown risk. What if he turns out to be another Lisa Murkowski? His campaign literature is very vague and loaded with the old platitudes of “leadership, cut spending” yada, yada, yada!
    This election is crucial if we ever want to clean up the corruption in Washington, DC. Alaska already has two stuffed shirts in Congress, we don’t need a third. We need a firebrand in Congress who will stand by Trump when he is reelected in 2024! If Begich would indicate his loyalties he might allay voter’s doubts, but he can’t & he won’t. If elected my guess is he will play along to get along and nothing will change. The establishment is backing Begich and that is a red flag!

  10. Alaskans have been duped before by those wrapping themselves in a Republican banner, only to do an immediate about-face once elected. The names Murkowski and Sullivan come to mind. As for “quitters” in Alaska, the names of Senator Kim Elton and Mayor/Lt.Gov Byron Mallott also come to mind?

    • Sarge, your gramps told you that? That’s so weird because mine told me to never vote for a screecher that dressed like a Strumpet.
      I’m going to disappoint the old Kraut though, you see I am voting for Sarah as my #2. I hope you do the same.
      Vaya Con Dios my brother!

      • I guess you won’t be voting for your cousin. I will be voting Sarah as #1. If we where voting now like we did last year, the primary Republican winner Sarah would be the only Republican on the August 16 General Election. With Rank, Nick gets a TROPHY Win and moves to the General. Using the Old Method Sarah would probably win. With this system she could very well lose. It will be a toss-up between Mary and Nick . A lot of Mary’s voters will vote Nick #2, and some of Nick ‘s voters will vote Mary #2, because their hatred for Sarah runs so deep they can’t do Rank The Red. I think the Begich name would be easier for some moderate Republicans to vote #2 for Mary. Sarah would need to get 51% in a three way race—that is really hard to do. Like all Elections it will depend on turnout for their canidate Time will tell. Auh Vedder Sang Amigo.

  11. I forgot to say, Sarah could get to 51% because this election will probably be more than a Red Wave, it will probably be a Red Tide. The valley has a bigger and newer population. Many from the lower 48 where Sarah is much more popular.. Nick might be stuck on 19%. So Sarah could pull it off . Picking up 22% on a Red Tide, and a larger election day is Possible. We should know in December when they figure out how to count this. Winner—Al Gross. Have Good Night.

  12. IT CAME OUT OF THE SKY……Oh, it came out of the sky, landed just a little south of Moline
    Jody fell out of his tractor, couldn’t believe what he seen
    Laid on the ground a-shaking, fearing for his life
    Then he ran all the way to town, screaming, “It came out of the sky”

    Well, a crowd gathered ’round, and a scientist said it was marsh gas
    Spiro came and made a speech, about raising the Mars tax
    The Vatican said, “Woe, the Lord has come,” Hollywood rushed out an epic film
    And Ronnie the Popular said, it was a communist plot

    Oh, the newspapers came, and made Jody a national hero
    Walter and Eric said they’d put him on a network TV show
    The White House said, “Put the thing in the Blue Room”
    The Vatican said, “No, it belongs to Rome”
    Jody said, “It’s mine, but you can have it for seventeen million”

    Oh, it came out of the sky, landed just a little south of Moline
    Jody fell out of his tractor, couldn’t believe what he seen
    Laid on the ground a-shaking, fearing for his life
    Then he ran all the way to town, screaming, “It came out of the sky”

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