JUNEAU, Alaska – Nancy Bear Usera, senior vice president of Alaska USA Federal Credit Union, has thrown her hat into the ring as one of the candidates vying to fill the state’s Senate seat vacated last month. Sen. Drue Pearce left the post to serve as senior adviser for Alaskan affairs with the Department of Interior, according to the Anchorage Daily News. Usera joins three other candidates for the position: Ben Stevens, head of the 2001 Special Olympics World Winter Games Alaska; Doug Bailey, a former state attorney general under Gov. Steve Cowper, a former Anchorage district attorney and U.S. attorney for Alaska and Bob Bell, a former Anchorage assemblyman and mayor candidate for Anchorage. Usera said, “the constituents should have representation as close to what they elected as possible,” but added “I’m not a Drue Pearce clone, but I believe our positions are similar on both public and fiscal policy.” To avoid the appearance of conflict of interest, Usera has asked her husband, Chuck Achberger, the Republican Party representative for District 11, not to advocate for her candidacy. Gov. Tony Knowles, a Democrat, has until July 18 to choose a replacement, who by law, must be a Republican from Pearce’s South Anchorage district.

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