Some of the candidates for the US House of Alaska are millionaires. Another is paying off student loans.
…Republican Nick Begich, has six figures in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and litecoin, as well as a stake of at least $1 million in a software company he owns. founded and now has more than 100 employees and offices in three countries.
Chris Constant, one of the Democrats in the race, is still paying off student loans. …
Nonetheless, Constant presents his relative lack of personal wealth as a selling point.
“The benefit is, in practice, I understand what it’s like to make a living, which is what most Alaskans go through,” Constant said. He added: “I am a worker. I don’t come from wealth. …
Begich, one of the running Republicans and a multi-millionaire, dismissed the idea that his money might leave him out of touch with potential voters.
He said his family “struggled” when he was growing up, and at one point, Begich said, he had over $100,000 in student loans, since paid off.
“I can definitely relate to the struggle that a lot of Alaskans are having right now,” he said in a phone interview.
One of the biggest chunks of Begich’s wealth — between $5 million and $25 million — is invested in his 69% stake in FarShore Partners, the software company he founded around 2006.
It now has 150 employees and has offices in Anchorage, Chicago, Croatia and India. And counts among its clients Encyclopedia Britannica, Valspar Corp. and Northwestern University, which pays Farshore to build software for customers and employees.
Begich also has a 42% stake in another firm, Dashfire Management, which advises startups. He pointed to other assets related to the company that owns the Aviator Hotel in downtown Anchorage, a company that operates a grocery store in the central town of Utqiagvik on the North Slope, several investment funds, a family publishing house and a company that owns land inside Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.
In the interview, Begich said his investment and business experience would give him an important perspective in Congress.
“We hear a lot about diversifying Alaska’s economy. And the diversification of the economy is going to come from creating businesses,” Begich said. “It’s something I’ve spent my entire career doing.”
Begich also argues that his wealth itself — not just his experience accumulating it — would come in handy if elected. His strengths, he said, insulate him from reliance on special interests or particular groups of supporters, and ensure that he will have no trouble maintaining his homes in Alaska and Washington.
He said Young, the former congressman, once described how dozens of Representatives sleep in their offices at the United States Capitol.
“It’s emblematic of a problem that is unsustainable: it forces the member in a way that makes it difficult for them to do a great job, if they’re worried about their personal finances,” Begich said. “I’ve worked hard, but I’ve also been lucky in some of my investing and business ventures that I can run without worrying so much.”