Begich zeroes in on crime, education and the PFD in first radio ad

Former U.S. Mark Begich will be filing for Alaska governor on Friday.

After a late entry to the race, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Begich released his first radio ad on Monday.

The ad joins an already-crowded field of campaign ads cut by independent Gov. Bill Walker, Republican front-runner Mike Dunleavy (and the independent expenditure group funded by Dunleavy’s wealthy brother), and Republican candidate Mead Treadwell.

The 60-second ad is set to play in Anchorage and Fairbanks at a total cost of around $25,000, according to filings with the Federal Communications Commission.

The themes of the ad are similar to what Begich outlined when he entered the race for governor and made the race a three-way with Walker and the Republican candidate. He touches on crime, education and constitutionalizing the permanent fund dividend.

“For our schools, I’ll start by first guaranteeing the PFD in the state constitution and then reinvesting the fund earnings into education and the permanent fund,” he said.

In an earlier interview with The Midnight Sun, Begich described a plan to put the dividend into the constitution with 50 percent of the earnings from the permanent fund would go to the dividend, 40 percent to education and 10 percent to inflation proofing. Such a plan would need to be approved by voters after being put on the ballot by a two-thirds vote of the Alaska Legislature or through a constitutional convention (with the next opportunity for one being on the 2022 ballot).

Begich spends most of the ad addressing crime, which has become one of the pillars of the Democrat’s bid for governor, where he references parts of a public safety plan he released on Friday.

That blueprint includes additional resources to combat the opioid epidemic, restoring cuts to municipal revenue sharing with the goal to refill local police departments, find ways to fill the unfilled positions in the state’s criminal justice system, partnering with federal prosecutors and improving the state’s relationship with the rural public safety.

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