Squaring off against incumbent U.S. Representative Don Young, independent candidate Alyse Galvin won the Democratic primary and has been actively seeking the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta’s vote. With the midterm election approaching, KYUK took a look at those who have come to our community this election season. While this is not a comprehensive look at Galvin’s campaign, it does present what she has said in reflecting on her time in the Bethel area. She spoke with KYUK by phone this week about how she would seek to deal with this region's concerns.
In the months since announcing her candidacy, Galvin has visited the Y-K Delta twice, spending time in Bethel and several communities in the surrounding area.
Galvin is not taking positions on two controversial issues on the ballot this November. She won't say who she supports for governor or how she'll vote on Ballot Measure 1, which increases protection for salmon habitats. Galvin says that she does support reinstating Alaska's Coastal Zone Management program.
“It was a good mechanism by which local communities, and experts who really know science, and policy makers came to the table before any decision was made around infrastructure that might be near a watershed that would affect our way of life, our salmon. And I think that needs to come back in place immediately,” Galvin said.
Galvin is also not taking a stand on the controversial Donlin gold mine project, although she has come out in opposition to the Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay.
“[Pebble Mine] is the wrong mine in the wrong location,” said Galvin. “There just is not the technology for that sort of a mine to ensure that there will not be any harm to the watersheds if there is a human error. So in that case, I’m absolutely not in support of that mine at this point.”
Galvin says that she would support more federal assistance to deal with relocation planning to respond to accelerating erosion in Alaskan villages.
“Certainly Department of Defense dollars should be considered, housing dollars should be considered, and if education is a part of the puzzle, which it certainly is when we’re moving one of the main, I would call it center, of the communities for some of them, then certainly we should think about those dollars as well. Whatever it takes is what we should be looking at,” Galvin said.
On health care, Galvin wants to maintain and expand funding for Medicaid, the Indian Health Service, and programs for Native veterans. While Galvin is concerned about how Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh will deal with tribal jurisdiction matters, she's hopeful that Congress can provide a buffer, particularly when it comes to the Indian Child Welfare Act.
“Congress has a unique opportunity where we can provide that check and balance for the Supreme Court,” said Galvin.
If elected, Galvin says that she’ll fight to give Alaska Native communities a stronger voice in managing their own affairs.
“I think Alaska Natives have to be able to have a meaningful and real substantive role there in management of their own needs,” Galvin said.
Galvin also joins others in calling on President Trump to condemn white nationalist individuals and groups.
“We must strongly voice that every single American must be respected. Every person must be respected, frankly, and to see what happened in the synagogue with the Tree of Life murders was so disheartening,” said Galvin. “I know for many among that community it brought back and dug into the wounds of history where they’ve suffered. And as we know, similar horrible historical events have happened among Alaska Natives as well.”
Galvin says that so far she has seen no such condemnation of white nationalism from her opponent, Republican Representative Don Young.