There are perhaps no shortages of opportunities to run for political office for an Anchorage resident, but Sheldon Fisher has set his sights on U.S. Representative Don Young's seat in Washington, D.C.
The 47 year-old Ashland, Ore. native has been working as an executive with Alaska Communications Systems for the past 6 years, but recently quit his job to focus on his campaign.
This will be the Yale Law School graduate's first time vying for a political office of any sort.
Fisher described himself as "the" conservative candidate, and said he plans to attack the incumbent's fiscal policies as well as his voting record.
"I think our nation needs, and I think people are looking for a different approach to politics," Fisher said in an interview last week.
He said what he sees as extensive federal spending and an expansive government are his two prime motivators for running for office.
"When it comes to federal spending Mr. Young will run like a conservative but he legislates like a liberal," Sheldon said. "His past leadership in the House was one that was focused on spending and earmarks and in some respects he's become the poster child of what's wrong with the Republican Party in the past."
Fisher added that he would take a different approach to lawmaking than Young.
"I think there's a need to build relationships with like minded legislators, particularly from Western states, to move the Alaska agenda forward," he said. "In my professional career I was known as someone who could begin relationships and coalitions with my competitors."
Fisher also called Young's voting record, "the worst in Congress."
He identified himself as a social conservative, as well.
Despite his criticism of the incumbent, Fisher acknowledged that he has an uphill battle to gain name recognition in a state that's been served by the same representative since 1973.
"We're going to have to hit on all cylinders," he said. "There's going to need to be a strong grassroots element and we're going to have to run hard and work hard in the campaign."
While he struggled at first, when asked to identify weaknesses he might possess as a candidate, he later said he might not be as willing to aggressively dive into the political muck as others.
"That might be viewed as a failing in Washington, D.C.," he said, "But I believe the nation is tired of the classical approach to the political problems."
Fisher said his background in business will set him apart from other candidates.
Before moving to Alaska six years ago, he worked in the Midwest for Sprint, and has also worked in a law practice focused on telecommunications.
His family includes his wife and seven children -- 6 girls and 1 boy -- who range in age from 19 year of age to 10 months.
Dante Petri can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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