Young, Cissna meet in Fairbanks forum

FAIRBANKS (AP) — There was little consternation Tuesday at a forum in Fairbanks that featured two U.S. House candidates.


U.S. Rep. Don Young, the Republican incumbent seeking his 21st term, faced off against his Democratic challenger, Sharon Cissna of Anchorage.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner called it an amiable forum, but the candidates did offer varying views on some topics. The biggest was the federal healthcare overhaul, or the Affordable Care Act.

It’s “probably the worst piece of legislation I’ve ever encountered,” Young said at the forum hosted by the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce. He said he would support efforts to defund it.

Cissna doesn’t favor repeal but said Congress should work to improve it.

“It’s got to be fixed,” she said, but she didn’t outline any specific problems with the bill.

Cissna also noted that it could take years to pass new health care legislation.

If elected, Cissna, 70, said she would take a workaholic approach to the job and focus on health issues.

Cissna is a breast cancer survivor and made national headlines when she refused what she considered an invasive pat-down at the Seattle airport, forcing her to take various means of transportation to return to Alaska. She’s made the Transportation Security Administration a focus in this campaign, saying the agency has extended its constitutional authority.

“How we treat our citizens is really of paramount importance,” said Cissna, who served 14 years in the state Legislature.

Young has his own criticisms of the TSA.

Young may not be looking past Cissna, but he’s already announced he’ll seek re-election in 2014 when he will be 81 years old.

“You young guys have to wait in line,” he joked to the audience.