Begich’s Interaction with UAF students
by Anessia Hubler
On October 28 US Senator Mark Begich spent his time walking around UAF, visiting a few club booths and talking to people as he walked past.
“I understand that a lot of the students are busy with classes and studying and not able to make it to the campaigns we put on, so I’m just walking around talking to everyone today,” Begich said.
Freshman General Science student and member of the 907 Gamer Club Connor Ito said, “I was not expecting to see Mark Begich at our booth! Nor did I expect him to be so actively interested in our geeky booth, it’s cool to see a politician so interested in the student body, especially groups like us that are not well know.”
Begich also went to Barnes & Noble on October 28, to meet people of the community that could not make it to his campaigns.
As he made his way around people asked him questions. Most questions were about the ballot measures on minimum wage, marijuana, and Bristol Bay fisheries protection. Begich was happy to answer all of these questions, giving reasons for agreeing or disagreeing with the ballot measures.
“As a person that owns their own business I have always paid my employees over minimum wage.” Begich said in support of ballot measure 3. If the measure passes minimum wage would be raised from $7.75 to $9.75 by January 2016.
“I believe this will raise some people living under the poverty line above it,” Begich said. Some don’t agree with minimum wage being raised because they feel it will impact the jobs that people have in a bad way, but Begich said, “People think jobs will be lost because of this but jobs won’t be lost, they have been show in the past when minimum wage was raised to go up along with income, people will spend more and are economy will go up as well.”
Begich won’t vote yes on Ballot Measure 2, concerning the legalization of marijuana, but says, “If voters vote for it, I’ll make sure the federal government respects the state right so people can’t get into trouble with it.” Begich also brings up that business can not put the money that they make from marijuana in feral banks right now because the marijuana is not leagle banks wont take the money made from it. If it becomes legal in Alaska the Alaska banks will take the money but feral banks might still refuse. “If the voters vote for it, ill make sure that business can but the money they make off of marijuana into banks instead of having to carry it around with them like they have to right now,” he said.
“Pebble Mine was the wrong mine in the wrong place,” Begich said concerning ballot measure 4. He stressed on how it would impact the Alaska fishing industry and the people that earn their living that way. “Seventy-five thousand people are linked to fishing in some way and it is a five billion dollar industry and we should do everything we can to protect it,” he said.
Freshman Mathematics student and Youth Organization of Alaska’s Youth for Environmental Action member Christina Edwin said, “Pebble Mine risks the values of our futures and cultures across Alaska. Right now Ballot Measure 4 on the Nov. 4, 2014 election is a state bill that would allow the state to make extra steps in the process of a permit of any large scale mine such as Pebble Mine. However, this bill is not the permanent solution to prevent any large scale mine from developing in the Bristol Bay Region.
Begich said he’ll continue to go to different places around Fairbanks to meet people that might be too busy to make it to his campaigns so that he can continue to answer questions, tell people what he will do if elected and show that he truly cares about the people of Alaska.