Health care and personal wealth repeated themes in debate between Sen. Dan Sullivan and Al Gross

Updated Story — Monday, Oct. 26, 8:45 A.M.

Health care and personal wealth came up again and again when the two major parties’ candidates for U.S. Senate debated each other on Friday.

Challenger Al Gross, the Democratic Party’s nominee, supports adding a public option to the health care insurance market to lower costs.

Republican incumbent Dan Sullivan says voters shouldn’t believe Gross on health care policy, because he made a fortune as an orthopedic surgeon.

“Think about my opponent’s Senate campaign proposition to all of Alaska. ‘I fleeced you. I know how the rigged system works. I was part of it. Now elect me and I’ll fix it.’ Al, you’re like the arsonist running for fire chief. You’re like putting Bernie Madoff in charge of financial reform. You have no credibility,” Sullivan said.

Gross says he charged no more than the going rate for Alaska. He made an issue of Sullivan’s family wealth, which stems from a multinational company his grandfather founded in Ohio. The company, called RPM, includes Rust-oleum (rust-O-lee-um) and other brands. Sullivan owns stock worth up to $5 million in the company. By contrast, Gross says he made his own money.

“I started two business when I was 14. I bought Microsoft when I was in my early 20s. I’m proud of who I am. I worked really hard,” Gross said. “Unlike you, I didn’t got to billionaire boy-rich summer camp and I don’t have a billionaire family doing direct business with the Chinese communist government.”

Gross said Sullivan’s many votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act shows Sullivan would take away coverage for pre-existing conditions.

Sullivan says he wants to keep popular aspects of President Obama’s signature health care plan, including protection for those with pre-existing conditions.

Friday’s debate was sponsored by Alaska Public Media and Alaska’s News Source.

Original Post

U.S. Senate incumbent Dan Sullivan is meeting his challenger Al Gross in Debate for the State Friday night.

Sullivan, a Republican, was sworn in to office in 2015 and is running for a second term. Meanwhile, Al Gross is an independent and the Democratic nominee who has not previously held public office.

The two came head-to-head earlier this month in a debate centered on the state’s fisheries industry. In that debate, Gross accused Sullivan of being beholden to special interest groups. But Sullivan said if Gross wins, it could put Democrats like Chuck Schumer in control.

The Senate debate is co-produced by Alaska Public Media and Alaska’s News Source. Watch on KTOO 360 North or online at 7 p.m.


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