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Two Moderate Republicans Vie For Race Against Longtime Democrat In House District 1 Primary Race

Fairbanks, AK - There are two new names on this year’s primary ballot for state Representative in Fairbanks District 1. Greg Bringhurst and Jomo Stewart are both vying for an opportunity to face Representative Scott Kawasaki in November.

Greg Bringhusrt and Jomo Stewart have lots in common. They’re both running in the primary for a spot on the ballot in November, when voters will choose a state representative for Fairbanks’ District 1.  They both argue Alaska’s economy depends too heavily on oil.AND they both say Fairbanks needs affordable energy in the form of natural gas.  “We looked at natural gas and realized that natural gas was never going to do for the state treasury or for the state economy if applied like oil, what oil has done," says Jomo Stewart.  He is the Energy Project Manager for the Fairbanks Economic Development Corporation. He says providing natural gas to small communities across the state should be a priority.

“And so how could use gas differently to benefit the state of Alaska and the concept we came up with was take natural gas and instead of using it as a feedstock into the treasury," he explains, "and provide it to seven strategic hubs across the state as essentially an equalized cost basis and allow that gas to serve as the underpinning for economic development within those communities and within those regions.”

Greg Bringhurst, also a young professional, who works as the Communications Manager for Tanana Chiefs Conference agrees that affordable energy has long term economic benefits. “I think people are ready for it. I think our town is ready for it. It’s been a hindrance on growth for several years," says Bringhurst. "There’s businesses that want t come to Fairbanks and want to stay in Fairbanks but they end up moving away or not locating here.”

Bringhurst, like Stewart proposes a job market that is far more diverse. So, I’ve been looking at other sectors.  One for instance is high tech jobs.  I was telling this story the other day.  In Sweden, same latitude as Fairbanks, there’s these huge data centers that giant companies," says Bringhurst. "We’re talking Facebook, Ebay, Amazon and things, they’re using and they’re putting there, because there’s stable energy there, there’s stable workforce, there’s stable governments and it’s a good location to exist because of the Arctic climate and we have that here and we can attract industry like that.”

Bringhurst and Jomo Stewart are both self-described moderate republicans.  They both graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and they both say they support a strong public education system. The winner in the primary will face Democrat Scott Kawasaki, who has represented the downtown district in Fairbanks since 2007.