U.S. Representative Don Young spoke at a joint meeting of Kenai and Soldotna's Chambers of Commerce Thursday, and emphasized the opportunity the state has to diversify its energy production.
Young said Alaska should explore ways to utilize its coal, geothermal, hydro, tidal and wind resources. He said that Alaska could lower energy costs by diversifying its power generation and grab a portion of the nation's manufacturing base. Young said that low energy costs will help Alaska draw in the population growth that other western states have seen.
Young believes that measures to block construction of dams are hypocritical.
"I can't build a dam because someone wants to kayak, but they want me to stop driving diesel because it's bad for the environment," he said. "What's the logic there?"
He said that the United States will not pull out of the recession if the nation continues to rely on foreign resources and goods, and does not start manufacturing more things here.
"It's like cutting your wrist open and asking for a transfusion," he said. "You're going to bleed to death."
He said that Alaska has never received all the land to which it was entitled when it became a state, and since that time, some land has been turned into refuges, national parks and wilderness areas.
The congressman described land ownership as the basis of democracy and said that government reluctance to allow private ownership detracted from personal freedom. This leads to the government making decisions for the people instead of relying on their own decision making, according to Young.
"You know what that's called?" he asked the audience. "Socialism."
The congressman said that schools should teach gun use and safety. He said that the ability to use firearms bolsters individual freedoms. Young, a board member of the National Rifle Association, called the right to bear arms and the Second Amendment a protection of all rights.
He called for a dismantling of federal agencies that enact regulations without voter input. He said that the state should be more aggressive in suing the federal government and proceed with lawsuits backed by "proper science."
Young said that he supports the Arizona anti-illegal immigration bill and predicts it will hold up to court challenges. He said that he supports legal immigration because of the country's historic reliance on newcomers.
"Arizona did what it had to do," he said.
The 19-term representaive said that he will continue to run until a candidate with more "dedication" comes along.
Tony Cella can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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