Late today the Alaska Republican Party and Congressman Don Young responded to attacks leveled at the congressman in the last 24 hours by his Democratic challenger Steve Lindbeck.
Lindbeck said the congressman had done too little to help maritime union members in a dispute the Associated Press described this way:
“Two maritime unions with 250 Alaska jobs at stake have begun a campaign to stop the operator of the trans-Alaska pipeline from switching to a nonunion company for escorting oil tankers safely out of Prince William Sound, where the Exxon Valdez spilled 11 million gallons of crude oil in 1989.”
“Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. is proposing to drop Florida-based Crowley Maritime Services, which has provided tugs for tanker escorts and spill response services in Prince William Sound for 25 years. Alyeska spokeswoman Michelle Egan said Tuesday the company is in final negotiations for a new contract with Louisiana-based Edison Chouest, for the contract.”
Young’s campaign spokesman Matt Shuckerow responded to the criticism late today in an email writing:
“The political attacks being spread by Congressman Young’s opponent — at the direction of outside consultants and political operatives — are disingenuous, untruthful, and clearly meant to distract Alaskans from the big government, job-killing policies he and his party support. There’s no question that throughout Congressman Young’s time in office he has always fought for Alaska’s workforce, Alaska-based hire, and oil spill safety and response — including efforts to require dual tug escorts and double hulled oil tankers in Prince William Sound. To say otherwise, would be a great disservice to Alaskans.
“Sadly, Congressman Young’s opponent doesn’t understand the facts. The Alyeska Pipeline Service Company is a private entity. To my knowledge, no elected official in Alaska has weighed in on the ongoing contract negotiations — neither of our Senators, Governor Walker, or Lt. Governor Mallott — because these are private matters, taking place between two private entities. If Congressman Young’s opponent believes in a federal government so large, robust and powerful that it must influence or put political pressure on contract negotiations — then he has a very different vision for the future and for Alaska.
“As we move forward, Congressman Young will continue to do his part to support Alaska’s workforce, build a healthy economy, and defend Alaska’s interests. We should move past these types of orchestrated, dishonest attacks that do nothing for the Alaskan people.”
The Alaska Republican Party also weighed in with a posting to their website quoting Party Chairman Tuckerman Babcock as saying:
“This takes government overreach to a ludicrous level. The idea that a congressman is the arbiter of business-to-business contracts is beyond the pale,” said Tuckerman Babcock, Alaska Republican Party Chairman. “Lindbeck’s idea of serving in Congress is to decide who works and who doesn’t, who gets a contract and who doesn’t. What is it with these Democrats who want to dictate to our businesses?”
The next round in this fight comes tomorrow morning. The Lindbeck campaign has scheduled an 11 AM press conference to further discuss the issue.