The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

By Heidi Zemach
For The LOG 

Seward resident runs for governor


Heidi Zemach | For The LOG

Seward resident Brad Snowden talks about his run for governor of Alaska.

Longtime Seward resident Brad Snowden, former owner of Hotel Seward, has announced plans to challenge Gov. Sean Parnell in the Republican Party primary Aug. 19. Snowden said he will run for governor during citizen's comments at the Seward City Council meeting May 27. Snowden humbly asked for local help and support, without which he said he had no hope of winning.

But Snowden hasn't had much support lately. He twice appeared before the city council, urging the city to allow him to build a private cruise ship dock along the Seward waterfront downtown. The idea was met with polite silence, perhaps as Seward already has an adequate cruise ship facility at the Alaska Railroad dock.

Snowden has run for governor twice before, but later said he had been naive both times, and had not put time or effort into those campaigns. He promised to do better this time, but with only two months to go before the state primary, he has no money for a campaign, no sponsorship, no campaign chair or volunteers, and lacks support from the established Alaska Republican Party leadership, which backs Gov. Parnell. He wasn't allowed to address either the state Republican Party convention, or the statewide union picnic gathering in Anchorage about his candidacy.

The reason for being excluded from the picnic may be partly because Snowden supports unions in concept, and the right of workers to try to get the highest pay and benefits for their work as possible. But in his experience as an ice trucker, he feels the union leadership was corrupt and acted "kingly," only allowing those they favored to get the best jobs and positions, not a guy like him.

Snowden says he values qualities like perseverance, passion and hard work, and they are what people really should know about him.

Topping his political agenda for Alaska is his support for Ballot Measure No. 1, the citizen's referendum to repeal Senate Bill 21 on the Alaska primary election ballot Aug. 19. If passed, the bill would return the state to the former tax on oil company profits known as ACES, Alaska's Clear and Equitable Share oil tax bill, enacted during former Gov. Sarah Palin's term. Snowden does not think the new tax legislation was needed, and feels that the big oil companies that he got to know while ice trucking on the North Slope were already starting to develop several big projects under ACES.

"Personally I like Sean, but I'll vote yes and keep ACES," Snowden said. "ACES was better for our state, meaning our shareholders. To me, he doesn't think like a businessman, and I do."

Snowden hopes Palin will learn of his position and come to his campaign's rescue, giving him the political boost that he needs. Back in 2003, he drove to Wasilla one day and urged Palin to run for lieutenant governor, which she subsequently did. Although her campaign was unsuccessful at the time, it helped launch her broader career, and three years later Palin became Alaska's youngest governor, and then became a nationally-known when Sen. John McCain chose her as his vice-presidential running mate. Palin recently hinted that she was considering backing Bill Walker, who is also a Ballot Measure 1 supporter running an aggressive campaign as a non-partisan Independent candidate, assuring him a place on the ballot in the November general election.

Like Walker, Snowden favors growing the natural gas industry in Alaska, creating a natural gas pipeline, and transporting gas from the railbelt to places like Seward on trucks and barges.

On other issues, Snowden supports legalizing marijuana in Alaska. On abortion restrictions, he says women never take the personal decision whether to have an abortion lightly, but he also supports the rights of states to legislate such matters. He does not favor the Affordable Health Act, nor does he think it will help fix the American medical care system. He did not address whether he would support Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

Snowden inherited the New Seward Hotel from his parents Rod and Gene Bradley while in his early 30s. He renovated and managed it for two decades, and feels that his decision to return home from trucking, and take on that difficult responsibility qualifies him well for the governor position. While on the job he learned about managing people, and gained the ability to discern which processes were or weren't working and needed to be addressed, he said.

Snowden has had his share of personal troubles too, including two divorces, and a variety of legal troubles. His properties, currently under probate, include Mom's International Hostel, a business that he named to honor his mother Gene, and his mother's video and used-goods store. He plans to fix up the video store over the next few weeks, and make it his state campaign office. Snowden also hopes to be allowed to open the hostel to visiting guests this summer to bring in some income, but also has to replace an old boiler that does not meet fire code standards.


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