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Treadwill Asks Students to Get Involved in Politics

Candidates debate resource development, education in Eagle River debate

Anchorage, AK – In the first of two lieutenant gubernatorial debates today, Mead Treadwell called on students to get more involved in politics and asked them to “never leave us alone” once elected. Hosted by Eagle River High School and attended by area high school students, today’s debate focused on education, gas pipeline progress, offshore drilling, and opportunity for students to stay in Alaska.

Diane Benson was not in attendance at today’s event, and Treadwell faced libertarian candidate Jeffrey Brown of Anchorage for the first time.

When it came to questions on improving Alaska’s economy, Treadwell highlighted the importance of filling up the oil pipeline and criticized the Obama administration’s environmental policy. “Our pipeline is one-third full compared to when we started. The Obama Administration has made eight decisions that are keeping us from filling it up again,” Treadwell said.

In response to a question on which natural gas pipeline route candidates preferred, Treadwell noted that a project can’t come together without willing buyers or sellers, and that he supports all three popular proposals – a gasline to tidewater at Valdez, a gasline to North American markets, and an in-state gasline. “I’ve made 30 trips to Japan and 30 trips to Korea” in pursuit of building a natural gas pipeline to bring Alaska’s gas to Asian markets, Treadwell said. “I believe Asia is a strong market for Alaska’s gas.”

Students also asked the candidates about their views on offshore oil drilling in the arctic, something the Parnell-Treadwell ticket strongly supports. At Parnell’s direction, the state has filed suit against the Obama administration’s offshore drilling moratorium, which still applies to Alaska’s Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. Treadwell reiterated his support of offshore drilling and the Parnell administration’s lawsuit Tuesday. “Thirteen percent of undiscovered oil and 23% of the world’s undiscovered natural gas is located in the Arctic,” Treadwell said in response to questions on the issue.

“I’m for exporting our resources, not our kids,” Treadwell said.

Early in the debate, candidates were asked to share their view of supporting a later start time for high school courses and their thoughts on the Alaska Performance Scholarships program. Treadwell, who said he likes the idea of later start times for high school if an early hour is designated for exercise, shared his full support for Sean Parnell’s Alaska Performance Scholarships program, which Treadwell believes will help students to achieve and excel. Treadwell also recounted his start as a college student who used scholarship money to pay his way through college.

“I believe it is very important to fund this program in the upcoming legislative session,” Treadwell said Tuesday.

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