After 30 minutes with Harry Crawford his political agenda was clear: Jobs.
Crawford is running as the Democratic nominee for Alaska’s only U.S. House of Representatives seat. He hosted a barbecue in the Den of the UAA Student Union on Sept. 1 to talk about his ideas for Alaska.
Jobs seemed to steer the conversation around Crawford when students stopped by to chat. When asked for a specific reason students should vote for him, Crawford responded with what emerged as his campaign trademark.
“I think it’s all about jobs and opportunities and hope for the future,” Crawford said. “It’s real easy for (students) to see what Don Young’s not doing. What I know is if we continue to vote for Don Young, we’re going to get more of what we’ve had before. I think that our economy for the last ten or twelve years here has just been kind of horrifying and really stagnant.”
Young’s name was mentioned many times throughout the night, paired with words like corruption, special interest groups and the ever popular “more of the same.”
Although Crawford had harsh words for his opponent, he was quick to highlight his ability to work across party lines.
“The whole ten years that I’ve been in the legislature, I’ve always been in the minority. I’ve gotten a dozen different bills passed, but always with a Republican co-sponsor,” Crawford said. “I know how to work with the other side, that’s my stock in trade.”
With the help of former Gov. Sarah Palin and Peggy Wilson, current Republican Representative in the Alaskan State Legislature, Crawford passed numerous bills. He offered a list of legislation he and Palin accomplished together, including oil-tax reform, corruption legislation and legislation concerning the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline.
She can do good, stated Crawford.
Although Crawford spoke highly of Palin as he once knew her, he said a wall came up after John McCain called.
“She’s playing a role now, I don’t know if it is real or not, but you are what you pretend to be.”
Crawford saw similarities in Palin and Joe Miller. A recent conversation with Joe Miller was more like a lecture on how it ought to be, Crawford said.
Crawford does agree with the Tea Party on the issue of the national debt, though he differed from them on naming its origin and possible solution.
Crawford said George W. Bush made cuts that put several million people out of work. He also pointed to the two wars launched under the Bush administration as a cause for the deficit.
Plans to reduce the deficit included an investment in jobs that puts Americans back to work. Crawford’s plan to create those jobs included reclaiming America’s past as metal, tool and machine manufacturers. He also laid out other agenda items important to him, including Alaska investment in the Natural Gas Pipeline.
Crawford is a former ironworker who worked on the pipeline in the 1970s and was also an organizer for the Iron Worker’s Union.
“The union workers set the standards for all the non-union workers. Without us setting the standard, it is a race to the bottom,” Crawford said.
According to the Alaska Public Offices Commission, a non-partisan, government run organization, Crawford received over $23,000 in campaign contributions from labor unions during his 2008 campaign, accounting for over half the total he collected.
A common dialogue against corporate special interest groups took hold during the interview, but did not assign the special interest label to unions. He also spoke of his desire to end corporate personhood.
Crawford moved from Shrevport, Louisiana to Alaska with his wife in the 1970s. He spent 37 years as an ironworker, three of which were spent on the Alaska pipeline. He is running as the Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in the midterm election this fall.