Kodiak Chamber of Commerce | 2022 Fishery Debates
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2022 Fishery Debates

Watch LIVE as candidates for Alaska Governor, U.S. House, and U.S. Senate debate current statewide seafood industry issues on October 3rd & 4th, 2022.


For over 30 years, Alaska’s ONLY commercial fisheries candidate debates have been held in Kodiak during election years.


The Kodiak Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that the debates person in Kodiak at the Gerald C. Wilson Auditorium will be broadcast on KMXT 100.1 FM and made available on public radio stations statewide. You will also be able to watch the debates on Zoom/Facebook LIVE.

Thank you to our Debate Sponsors

Alaska Gubernatorial Candidates

October 3rd at 7 PM

Gerald C. Wilson Auditorium will be broadcast on KMXT 100.1FM and made available on public radio stations statewide.

Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82265503380

Les Gara

Les grew up in foster care after his father was killed at work by an intruder when Les was six.


Les graduated from Harvard Law School with Honors in 1988 and served as a Law Clerk for Justice Jay Rabinowitz from 1988-89 in Fairbanks.


Les served as a legislator in the Alaska House of Representatives between 2003-2018. During that time, he was a strong, supportive ally of a woman’s right to choose. Before that, Les was an Assistant Attorney General on the civil prosecution of Exxon following the catastrophic Exxon Valdez Oil Spill. He has earned national and state awards for his work to help create opportunities for foster youth, including the Alaska Children’s Trust (2022), Casey Family Programs (2017), and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2018). He was selected to serve as an advisor with the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute.


Les created two major volunteer programs for foster youth. He started Alaska’s mentorship program for foster youth, which Big Brothers Big Sisters of Alaska now runs. Les also developed FosterWear, which is now run by the state. That program provides discounts on high-quality new clothing for foster youth from participating stores around the state.


Les volunteered as an attorney representing the American Academy of Pediatrics to protecting the right to choose. He also started a flyfishing program at Big Brothers Big Sisters to teach youth how to flyfish, and fly tie and led the effort to provide equipment for youth.

Bill Walker

Bill Walker is a lifelong Alaskan who served as the 11th governor of our state from 2014 to 2018. He is only the second governor born in Alaska, and during his term, he was the only Independent governor in the nation. He is seeking election as governor again in 2022 alongside Heidi Drygas, with a deep commitment to rebuilding Alaska and creating a bright future that provides his grandchildren with the same opportunities that Alaska provided him.


Bill was born in Fairbanks and grew up in Delta Junction and Valdez, where he built homes with his dad and brother while still in elementary school. The Walkers lost everything they owned during the 1964 earthquake, but rather than file bankruptcy, all six family members worked every possible job to scrape together a living. At age twelve, Bill became the post office janitor, where he worked before and after school. He financed his education by working as a union carpenter, laborer, and teamster on the Trans-Alaska oil pipeline. At age 27, he was mayor of Valdez, and he later served as the city’s attorney after he and his wife, Donna, graduated from the University of Puget Sound Law School. The Walkers have owned many businesses over the years, including their own law firm.


As governor, Walker assembled a Cabinet of Alaskan leaders based on qualifications, not political affiliation. When the Legislature failed to pass Medicaid expansion, Walker unilaterally accepted it, bringing $1 billion in Federal funds to Alaska annually, reducing the state’s cost of health care, and extending health care to more than 60,000 Alaskans. With bipartisan support, he reduced the state’s dependence on dwindling oil tax revenue from 90% to 30%, significantly reducing a multi-billion-dollar budget deficit. He issued a declaration of statewide disaster on the opioid crisis and implemented an Incident Command System to mitigate the crisis and save lives. Walker also established the Governor’s Tribal Advisory Council (GTAC) to provide Alaska’s tribes with direct access to the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Commissioners. Walker’s team developed Alaska’s first Climate Action Plan and worked closely and cooperatively with both the Obama and Trump administrations to get the best deal for Alaska. In 2020, Bill was selected as a Resident Fellow for the Harvard John F. Kennedy School Institute of Politics, where he led a course titled Bridging the Political Divide.


Bill and his wife, Donna, have four children and six grandchildren, most of whom live in Anchorage. Bill enjoys swinging a hammer, biking, downhill skiing, fishing with his grandchildren and watching them play sports, and gathering around the campfire and dining room table with his family.

U.S. House Candidates

October 4th at 6:30 PM

Gerald C. Wilson Auditorium will be broadcast on KMXT 100.1FM and made available on public radio stations statewide.

Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84930414155

Nick Begich

As a lifelong Republican, Nick Begich has held a variety of professional and political roles with the intent of growing opportunities through entrepreneurship. Nick served as a co-chair for Congressman Don Young’s 2020 re-election campaign, the 2020 OneAlaska campaign, and the Alaska Republican Party’s Finance Committee.


Nick has served on the board for the Alaska Policy Forum, an organization dedicated to advancing opportunity through economic liberty and individual freedom. Additionally, Nick recently completed a Fellowship with the Club for Growth, America’s leading free-enterprise, limited-government advocacy group. He has served for 5 years as a Board Director for MTA, one of the nation’s largest telecommunications cooperatives, and recently completed his 4th year as the MTA Foundation’s Board President.


Professionally, Nick has extensive experience in both corporate and startup settings and is involved in managing businesses both in Alaska and around the world. Nick and his wife Dharna live in Chugiak and are proud parents of Nicholas, their ten-year-old son.

Chris Bye

Chris Bye is an Alaskan, a husband, a father of 4, a combat veteran, an Alaskan fishing guide, a youth soccer coach, former youth shooting coach and an avid outdoorsman. He is not a politician. His family is not connected to politics nor big money. He is not a DC insider. Chris is just a regular Fairbanks guy who firmly believes in Liberty and Freedom for all.

Chris dedicated half his life serving this great nation, as both an enlisted soldier in the U.S. Army and later as a commissioned officer. And retirement did not dull the desire to continue that service. He has also witnessed first-hand the devastating effects of policies made in Washington D.C., so far removed from the realities Alaskans face. It is this first-hand evidence that draws him into serving beyond the Fairbanks and Fort Wainwright community by running for Congress.

He will not pretend to have all of the answers. He will look to all Alaskans, especially those directly affected, to help solve the problems facing us. While we may not always agree, constructive dialogue including diverse perspectives is essential to creating the best Alaska, not just for certain groups but for everyone. We can do better. We owe it to our children to do better. And it starts by electing representatives who work for us, not just a party. It’s time Alaska.

Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin has been fighting for the people of Alaska for 30 years. She is a passionate voice for energy independence, the development of our natural resources, fiscal responsibility, and a safe and secure America. Sarah was elected to the Wasilla City Council in 1992 and defeated the incumbent mayor in 1996. In 2003, she became chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and in 2006, she defeated the incumbent Governor Frank Murkowski to become Alaska’s youngest governor and its first female governor. Sarah was the first female Republican nominee on a presidential ticket in 2008. In elections ever since Sarah’s endorsement has been one of the most sought-after in American history, and she has been responsible for the election of patriotic Americans across the country. Sarah, a lifelong Alaskan, has stayed active as a resident of Wasilla, where her youngest son attends middle school.

Rep. Mary Peltola

Mary Sattler Peltola is a Yup’ik Eskimo, salmon advocate, and Democrat who represented the Bethel region in the Alaska House of Representatives for 10 years.


Mary was raised on the Kuskokwim River in Kwethluk, Tuntutuliak, Platinum, and Bethel. She began fishing commercially with her father when she was six years old. She studied elementary education at the University of Northern Colorado and worked during college as a herring and salmon technician for the Department of Fish and Game. At age 22, Mary began an internship with the Alaska legislature. That same year, she ran for office and lost. Two years later, married and pregnant, Mary won her election and began representing the Bethel region in the Statehouse.


As a lawmaker, Mary helped rebuild the Bush Caucus, which passed legislation and influenced budgets that improved lives in rural Alaska under her tenure as Chair. After leaving the legislature, she worked as Manager of Community Development and Sustainability for the Donlin gold mine project. After a tailings impoundment failed on the Fraser River in British Columbia during Chinook and Coho runs, she left the company and later joined the Kuskokwim River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission. As Executive Director of the commission, she helped mobilize 118 Tribes and rural Alaskans to advocate for the protection of salmon runs in Western Alaska. This was a continuation of her work as a Salmon Fellow with the Alaska Humanities Forum.


Mary served on the Orutsararmiut Native Council Tribal Court and the Bethel City Council and on the boards of the Nature Conservancy, the Alaska Humanities Forum, the Alaska Children’s Trust, and the Russian Orthodox Sacred Sites in Alaska. In the summer, Mary and her husband Gene can be found with their seven children and two grandchildren fishing on the Gweek River and at their fish camp on Steamboat Slough on the Kuskokwim River.

U.S. Senate Candidates

October 4th at 8 PM

Gerald C. Wilson Auditorium will be broadcast on KMXT 100.1FM and made available on public radio stations statewide.

Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84930414155

Pat Chesbro

Growing up in Sherburne, New York, set the foundation for my life. I attended Sherburne Central School from kindergarten to twelfth grade, graduating in 1966. Sherburne’s children and young people were supported in those days. My Mom was supported by friends and family after my Dad died and we always felt like we belonged.


We had good teachers, safe streets, community parades and festivals, a swimming pool, summer crafts activities and playgrounds, Girl Scouts, and neighbors who reported our wrongdoing to our mothers. I was able to march in band and sing in chorus and musical productions.


After graduating, I was fully prepared to attend and graduate from Syracuse University in 1970 with a bachelor’s degree in English education. I went directly to SUNY Albany to earn a master’s degree in Reading education in 1971. That fall, I began my teaching career in Penfield, New York. I also married my sweetheart, Jim Chesbro. Jim had three children from his first marriage, so I also had a crash course in parenthood.


After three years in Penfield, Jim and I decided to move to Alaska, for one year. That year has now extended to 48. Our three daughters were born here.


I served as a teacher and principal at Palmer (AK) High School for 25 years. During my teaching years, I was an executive board member and president for one year in our local NEA/Alaska affiliate.  After leaving the high school, I became Superintendent of the local school district (geographic size of West Virginia) for two years and then retired again. Soon, I was hired as an assistant professor of educational leadership at the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA), where I remained for 10 years. I was interim dean of the College of Education during my last year at UAA.


I have served many volunteer roles in the local community, including Palmer Museum, Palmer Arts Council, Palmer Community Foundation, and Mat Su Borough Planning Commission. I am active in local and statewide Democratic politics.


I am running for U.S. Senate because I believe in Democratic values. I believe many of those values come from my youth and my years in education. The U.S. Senate is key to creating and developing public policy that supports people. Fair and honest U.S. Senators are vital to all Americans.

Lisa Murkowski

Lisa Murkowski is a third-generation Alaskan born in Ketchikan and raised with her five siblings in Wrangell, Juneau, and Fairbanks. She currently lives in Anchorage, where she met her husband Verne and raised their two sons, Nic and Matt. Having grown up in the Southeast, Lisa knows firsthand the importance of strong fisheries and the work it takes to protect and sustainably utilize the pristine waters that feed people around the world.


Serving Alaska in the U.S. Senate since 2002, Lisa uses her seniority, clout, and bipartisan relationships to advance and secure policy victories that benefit Alaska. As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and a co-chair of the Senate Oceans Caucus, Lisa has been relentless in the fight to ensure that fishing remains a cornerstone of Alaskan life. She has led the charge against genetically- engineered salmon successfully fought to secure critical funding for fisheries assistance during the pandemic, and has worked to reduce ocean plastics and marine debris.


Senator Murkowski knows that thriving fisheries support thousands of jobs, as they make up the cornerstone of many Alaska communities.