A confident campaigner
Eagle River’s Doug Urquidi is confident he can beat the odds and take down Alaska’s senior Congressman.
“I do believe this is something that’s very doable,” Urquidi said during an interview last week. “I’m giving myself about a 95 percent chance right now.”
Urquidi is running as a Democrat for the U.S. House of Representatives against Rep. Don Young, who has served as Alaska’s lone representative in that body since 1973.
Urquidi, 46, said he thinks the time has come for the 20-term congressman to move back to his home in Fort Yukon and allow some “young blood” to serve Alaska.
“I love the man, he’s done a lot for this state, but I believe it’s time for him to step aside,” Urquidi said.
An electrician by trade, Urquidi said he thinks the original idea of having citizen legislators has been lost. He said he strongly believes in term limits, and feels government needs more people who come from working-class backgrounds.
“I’ve got common sense,” he said. “I’m not a lawyer, I’m just one of the people, just a regular guy.”
Urquidi said he doesn’t think being a Democrat in a heavily Republican state should be viewed as a negative.
“I think the Democratic party is moving more toward where the Republicans used to be,” he said.
He said he’s for lower taxes, but wants to see that tax money spent on helping more people and improving Alaska’s infrastructure.
“It’s ridiculous we don’t have many roads in this state,” he said.
Urquidi also believes Young has lost touch with Alaskans, and said he thinks the congressman is doing much to help the state.
“He’s got one of the largest offices in Congress…for pretty much an office that doesn’t do anything,” he said.
A veteran of the first Gulf War, Urquidi said he’d like to see more done to help service men and women get medical help once they’ve taken off the uniform.
“We need to help them,” he said.
Urquidi wants to see resource development in Alaska, but he’s against a natural gas pipeline from the North Slope. Instead, he’d like to see a power plant built on Alaska’s vast northern gas fields, with a power line linking to the rest of the state.
“Right now we’re just burning off all the gas that’s up there,” he said.
He’s running on a platform of improved medical care for veterans, better care for victims of domestic violence, term limits and improving Alaska’s infrastructure.
Urquidi ran for Anchorage Assembly in 2011. Following his unsuccessful campaign, he said he was approached by several people in the Democratic Party who felt his philosophy of low taxes and better spending decisions would be perfect to challenge Young in the 2012 election.
“They said, ‘You’re the kind of guy we want to run,’” he said.
Urquidi acknowledges he doesn’t have the resources at his disposal that Young does to run a major campaign. So instead, he’s spending his time after work and on weekends traveling the state and trying to win over voters one at a time. So far, he said, it’s been working.
“Everybody I hear from is like, ‘You’re running against Don? What can we do to help?” he said.
You likely won’t see many television ads touting Urquidi’s candidacy. But, he said, he’s got other ways of attracting people to his campaign.
“We’re going to have lots of barbecues,” he said.
Urquidi said his top priority will be serving his fellow Alaskans, and believes that if people vote in November based on commitment to the state – rather than name recognition – he’ll be in good shape.
“Above all else, I’m an Alaskan,” he said.