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Crab fisherman and captain of the F/V Wizard Keith Colburn, of Deadliest Catch, says Mark Begich is the “right guy for the job” in Alaska’s U.S. Senate race.

Colburn says Outside groups are dumping money into Alaska, but Begich has been a bipartisan voice who works on Alaska fisheries and energy issues:

“There’s a lot of money pouring in from all over the U.S. to support some of the Republican candidates,” Colburn said. “It’ll get ugly out there.”

“I like Sen. Begich,” Colburn said. “He’s worked well on both sides of the aisle; he’s worked well to support Alaska fisheries, energy. I think he’s the right guy for the job.”

Last fall, Colburn testified in the U.S. Senate on the damage the House Republican led government shutdown was doing to fishermen at the invitation of Begich who sits on the Senate Commerce Committee and chairs the subcommittee overseeing fisheries. Begich is a powerful voice on fisheries issues in the Senate and advocated for exempting the crab fisheries from the shutdown effects due to the limited time frame of the king crab fishing season.

Begich regularly uses his chairmanship to bring Alaska voices into decision-making.

Read the full story below in Yahoo’s profile series “Power Players”

Mother Nature vs. Washington: “Deadliest Catch’s” Keith Colburn on the politics of crab fishing

By Shushannah Walshe, Devin Dwyer, Richard Coolidge, and Jordyn Phelps

As a crab boat captain, Captain Keith Colburn spends much of his life at the mercy of Mother Nature off the coast of Alaska.

“I love what I do, and I love being on the water,” Colburn told “Power Players.” “There’s something about being out there and being in the middle of something that you can’t control.”

But the crab boat captain — made famous for his starring role in Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch” — said during a recent visit to Washington, D.C., that the ripples of political gridlock and policy decisions have also rocked his boat.

Just last year, Colburn’ss business weathered the government shutdown.

“With over 8 million pounds of king crab to harvest among the fleet, we probably lost over $100,000 to $150,000 a boat,” Colburn estimated. Crab boats had little choice but to stay docked during the 15-day shutdown, because the government regulators who issue permits and manage catch quotas were off the job.

Though the shutdown is now a thing of the past, Colburn points to another issue at the center of an ongoing policy debate as his biggest fear for the future of crabbing: climate change.

“We are seeing it,” Colburn said. “In the last decade in Alaska, we’ve seen three of the warmest temperatures ever for water temperatures in the last hundred years, and we’ve seen three of the coldest temperature years. We’re seeing these huge dips in cycles in our weather patterns in Alaska.”

The changes in the weather cycle, Colburn believes, have caused more dangerous storms in recent years. And it has also had implications for the crab — and his business’ bottom line.

“Some years it’s helping us. Cold years we have higher survival rates for our crab,” Colburn said. “When the water warms up, then it’s bad news for the crab.”

Back onshore, there’s another political storm brewing in this year’s Alaska Senate race, where one-term Democratic Sen. Mark Begich is defending his seat in the red state against a crowded field of Republican challengers.

“There’s a lot of money pouring in from all over the U.S. to support some of the Republican candidates,”Colburn said. “It’ll get ugly out there.”

Colburn, for his part, is backing Begich for a second term.

“I like Sen. Begich,”Colburn, said. “He’s worked well on both sides of the aisle; he’s worked well to support Alaska fisheries, energy. I think he’s the right guy for the job.”

For more of the interview, and to find out what Captain Colburn favorite type of crab is and why, check out this episode of “Power Players.”

ABC News’ Alexandra Dukakis, Tom Thornton, Gary Westphalen, Chris Carlson and Barry Haywood contributed to this episode.



27-Year Navy Fighter Pilot Touts Begich-Murkowski Partnership


Mark Begich is up with a new ad featuring a 27-year Navy fighter pilot and lifelong Republican who has supported Senator Ted Stevens and Senator Lisa Murkowski and is now voting for Mark Begich.

Alaska veteran Skip Nelson points out that Alaska’s senators vote together as much as 80% of the time, according to the independent fact check organization PolitiFact.

Click Here to Read More About Begich’s Record of Teaming Up with Senator Murkowski

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“We’re fortunate to have two senators that understand our business and understand how to support it…Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich vote as much as 80% of the time together. I don’t think we ought break up that team,” says Nelson.

Begich and Murkowski work together and vote together on a number of different issues important to Alaska, including aviation. Begich is the co-founder of the Senate Aviation Caucus and fought alongside Lisa Murkowski and Congressman Don Young to save the Essential Air Service program from unfair budget cuts that would harm rural Alaska. Begich also sits on the Senate Commerce Committee which oversees aviation issues.

Murkowski and Begich voted together more than any other pair of senators from opposing parties and ruled the two vote together 80% of the time: 148 times out of 183 total votes, or 80.8% of the time in 2014. CQ also ruled that the pair vote together more than any other pair of Democrat - Republican delegations.


SKIP NELSON: Aviation – especially aviation in Alaska – is a difficult business. Sometimes a very dangerous business. We’re fortunate to have two senators that understand our business and understand how to support it. I’ve been a lifelong Republican. I voted for Ted Stevens, I voted for Lisa Murkowski. Now I’m voting for Mark Begich. Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich vote as much as 80% of the time together. I don’t think we ought to break up that team.

MARK BEGICH: I’m Mark Begich, and I approve this message.




ANCHORAGE — Mark Begich is running a campaign centered on connecting directly with Alaskans, a skill that comes from a lifetime spent in Alaska and an intimate understanding of the unique needs of the state and its residents.

Begich is “renowned for stopping unannounced at bingo halls to call numbers” and recently traveled almost 4,000 miles by plane and car across Alaska campaigning in a single week.

“Mark Begich knows that at the heart of this election is connecting with real Alaskans in every corner of the state about issues important to them – Mark Begich will go anywhere in Alaska to listen to Alaskans and then deliver results,” said Max Croes, Communications Director for Alaskans for Begich.

A born and raised Alaskan, Begich is proud of the over 5,000 Alaskans who have contributed to his campaign – from salmon setnetters, to substitute teachers, to local small business owners – more than all of his opponents put together.

“Begich is taking nothing for granted. At a lakeside picnic rally about an hour’s drive from Anchorage on Sunday, he cautioned supporters that a juggernaut of Republican money – “upwards of $30m” – is being poured into Alaska to try to “buy a senator and control Washington. The only way we’re going to win is with people, pushing back,” he said, exhorting supporters to turn out everyone they know to vote.” Guardian July 23, 2023



Endorsements Continue Begich’s Momentum


Mark Begich is pleased to announce the endorsement of six current and former North Slope mayors, who recognize the results Begich has delivered for rural Alaska and his fight to represent all Alaskans.

Endorsements Include:

Charlotte Brower, North Slope Borough Mayor (Current)

Robert Harcharek, Mayor of Barrow (Current)

John Hopson Jr., Mayor of Wainwright (Current)

Eugene Brower, North Slope Borough Mayor (Former)

Edward Itta, North Slope Borough Mayor (Former)

Rep. Benjamin Nageak, North Slope Borough Mayor (Former)


“Mark is honored to have the support of Alaska leaders on the North Slope who understand firsthand the impact and importance of Mark’s leadership in the Senate and his work to represent the interests of Alaska’s North Slope,” said Susanne Fleek-Green, Campaign Manager for Alaskans for Begich.

Begich has risen fast in the Senate leadership, securing key committee spots on the Senate Indian Affairs Committee and Senate Appropriations Committee that have helped him bring resources back to rural Alaska.

Begich’s accomplishments for Alaska’s North Slope include:

· Supporting Resource Development – Begich successfully fought the Obama Administration to allowing drilling in the Arctic Ocean and the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska while respecting the needs and local communities and people.

· Supporting Subsistence Whaling – Begich fought to protect Alaska Native whaling quotas at the International Whaling Commission.

· Supporting the Voting Rights Act – Begich opposes the Supreme Court’s decision to eliminate preclearance under the Voting Rights Act and supports restoration of the law’s authority.

· Indian Health Service – Begich secured a permanent reauthorization of the Indian Health Service, the first reauthorization in over twenty years. He also secured historic full funding for IHS Contract Support Costs to Alaska Native tribal facilities this year.

· Safe Families & Villages Act – Begich introduced the Safe Families & Villages Act to give Alaska tribes resources and local control to empower communities to manage domestic violence.

· Rural Veterans – A successful Begich initiative allows veterans in rural Alaska to receive health care at tribal health facilities, saving veterans thousands of dollars in travel costs and allowing them to get care close to home.

· Alaska Territorial Guard – In 2009, Senator Begich successfully secured reinstatement of pension payments for members of the WWII-era Alaska Territorial Guard.

· Postal Service Reform — Begich has fought back efforts to end Bypass Mail and pushed the U.S. Postal Service to reverse rate increases in rural Alaska, ensuring critical service to Alaskans and a lifeline for the rural Alaska economy.

· Essential Air Service – 82% of Alaska communities are off the road system and Begich has protected vital transportation routes and services by protecting the Essential Air Service program.



Republican: “A million and a half dollars that got flushed down the toilet”


A Republican strategist controlling millions of dollars in ads attacking Mark Begich is labeling Outside spending a waste of money.

Strategist Art Hackney told The Guardian attack ads, like those run by the Koch Brothers and Karl Rove, are the equivalent of “a million and a half dollars that got flushed down the toilet.”

“Alaskans rejected the Koch Brothers and Karl Rove after they used a Maryland woman posing as an Alaskan in their ads and have have been repeatedly called out by independent fact checkers for their false attacks against Mark Begich. Now, even long time Republican operatives in Alaska have had enough,” said Max Croes, Communications Director for Alaskans for Begich.

The Guardian characterized Outside attacks as embarrassing and not Alaskan.

The comments carry extra weight as Art Hackney is employed by Karl Rove’s Crossroads and continues to direct and orchestrate Outside attacks on Mark Begich.

Outside groups like those run by the Kochs and Rove have spent millions in Alaska and are committed to spend over$12 millionby November, almost all attacking Mark Begich.




ANCHORAGE — Mead Treadwell’s pursuit of an alarming policy to expose a woman’s personal information to the government is raising serious constitutional questions after a judge’s ruling.

“Mead Treadwell’s invasive policies would bring the government into the doctor’s offices of Alaska women, expose their personal information and have the state to make decisions for them,” said Susanne Fleek-Green, Campaign Manager for Alaskans for Begich.

Treadwell’s disturbing policy would force Alaska women to report their medical information to the government so the state can determine whether or not their “condition” is “medically necessary” and makes them eligible for certain reproductive services.

The regulations expose a woman’s medical records to the government and limit access to abortions for women on Medicaid – many of whom have limited economic resources and access to health care.

The State of Alaska is currently being sued by Planned Parenthood for Treadwell’s efforts, which have serious constitutional questions.



Points to Begich’s “Seniority” and “Effectiveness”


Citing Mark Begich’s seniority and effectiveness, Begich received the endorsement from the board of directors of the Alaska Native regional corporation Sealaska Corporation, which has 21,600 Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian shareholders throughout Alaska.

“I’m honored to receive Sealaska’s endorsement. I have worked with Sealaska’s leaders and shareholders over the last five years to promote sustainable economic development in Southeast to ensure Alaska’s young people have good jobs in the region where they want to raise their families and support their elders,” said Senator Mark Begich.

Begich has risen swiftly in the Senate leadership during his first term in office, securing key seats on the Senate Indian Affairs Committee and Senate Appropriations Committee.

“We believe Begich, Mallott and Kito have proven track records on issues important to our region,” said Sealaska board chair Joe Nelson. “They are Alaska’s leadership of experience.”

As Chair of the Senate Oceans Subcommittee, Begich has brought new investment and focus on the Southeast economy, including:
  • Reauthorizing the Coast Guard bill to invest in Coast Guard stations throughout Alaska, including $27 million for a new dock at the Ketchikan Coast Guard station,
  • Mark secured U.S. Forest service approval for exploratory drilling at the Niblack Mine and crucial survey work at the proposed Bokan Mountain Mine. He has also backed legislation to authorize road construction to the mining sites. These mines would create over 350 jobs in Southeast Alaska.
  • Fighting attempts to diminish the 8(a) program that helps Alaska Native corporations diversify their businesses and create economic opportunities for their shareholders.
Sealaska also endorsed Senator Lisa Murkowski in the 2010 election.




Treadwell Continuing to Meddle in Women’s Health Care


ANCHORAGE: U.S. Senate candidate Mead Treadwell continues to boast about his support for the anti-woman Hobby Lobby Supreme Court decision that takes health care decisions out of the hands of women and allows their bosses to make reproductive choices for them.*

“Mead Treadwell isn’t backing down from his long history of support for invasive, anti-women policies. Alaska women don’t need their bosses or Mead Treadwell making health care decisions for them,” said Susanne Fleek-Green, Campaign Manager for Alaskans for Begich.

Treadwell’s disturbing support for anti-woman policies would:

· Let a woman’s boss cut off their reproductive care: Treadwell is boasting of his support for the Hobby Lobby decision which allows a woman’s boss to make health care decisions for her.

· Invade women’s privacy: Treadwell supports policies that invade the privacy of Alaska women, forcing them to disclose their medical information to the government, and allowing the state to determine whether they can have a potentially life saving procedure.

· Give state control over women’s bodies: Treadwell is adamant about supporting personhood measures which could deem certain forms of birth control murder and outlaw abortion even in the most extreme cases of assault or incest.

*Treadwell: Religious Freedom And Constitution “Won” In Hobby Lobby Ruling. During a July 2014 interview with Tea Party Express, Mead Treadwell said, “MARK: One of the other big challenges that we’re hearing right now is what’s happening with the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare as it’s more widely referred to these days. Something that came up in the headlines recently, the Supreme Court case involving Hobby Lobby; the Court ruled five-four in favor of for-profit, family-owned corporations like Hobby Lobby, saying they can’t be forced to pay for contraceptive coverage under Obamacare if it was a violation of their religious beliefs. What did you think about the ruling, Mead, and what effect do you think it will have on the issue of healthcare in general? TREADWELL: Well I was happy with ruling. Religious freedom won. Our constitution won. Pelosi, Reid, and our own Senator Mark Begich lost.” [Audio, Treadwell on Tea Party Express, 07/08/14]



Treadwell Would Eliminate Provision 30 Million American Families Rely on


U.S. Senate candidate Mead Treadwell is plugging a tax scheme that would crush homebuyers in Alaska, eliminating a provision over 30 million Americans rely on each year. Treadwell’s plan would force Alaskans and Americans to pay thousands of dollars more when buying a house.

Treadwell’s extreme tax scheme would eliminate the home mortgage interest deduction. The provision has been commonplace for American families hoping to buy homes and its elimination would shift the tax burden from wealthier Americans to lower-income households, strangling the finances of working Alaska families.

“Mead Treadwell’s tax scheme would not only raises taxes on everyday goods for Alaska households, but eliminate a provision advancing the American dream of owning a home for thousands of working families in Alaska,” said Max Croes, Communications Director for Alaskans for Begich.

Treadwell’s 30% national sales tax would further complicate homeownership for Alaskans’, as the tax would include mortgage interest.

Republicans, Democrats, and tax experts alike have criticized the scheme. Former President George W. Bush’s administration rejected the proposal and said it would create “the largest entitlement program in history” because of the extreme poverty it would create among lower income Americans.



Rules Kochs Can’t Shirk Responsibility for Flint Hills Cleanup


A court has ruled the Koch brothers can’t cut and run on their responsibility to clean up contamination in North Pole, where they closed a refinery, laid off Alaskans and tried to shift responsibility for the cleanup to Alaskans.

The decision comes after the billionaires cut 80 jobs and plan to shutter the refinery, causing damage to the local economy and raising taxes on Alaskans.

“The Koch brothers have spent hundreds of millions on political attack ads while turning their back on Alaska by raising taxes on Alaskans by closing the Flint Hills refinery, firing 80 Alaskans and trying to leave behind contaminated groundwater,” said Max Croes, Communications Director for Alaskans for Begich.

The billionaire Koch brothers who closed the Flint Hills refinery have funded false and misleading attack ads in Alaska from three separate Outside groups. They have spent $2.9 million in Alaska on ads declared “false” and “not true” by independent fact check organizations.