September 17, 18 in Kodiak and online


Kodiak has again scored a first debate between candidates in one of Alaska’s most high-profile political races: the U.S. Senate. It will be a virtual event held in conjunction with the 41st annual ComFish trade show that was bumped by the Covid virus from its usual dates in March to next week.

 “Naturally the debate is fisheries centered. So there is a lot of interest in that, obviously within our Kodiak community and throughout the state of Alaska. So we’re excited to be able to offer that opportunity.”

Sarah Phillips is director of the Kodiak Chamber of Commerce and ComFish organizer.  The fisheries debate, ongoing since 1999,  will feature Republican Senator Dan Sullivan and Independent challenger Dr. Al Gross, although the debate date might occur after the ComFish dates.  The Kodiak Chamber also is soliciting questions for the Senate debate.  (Send to

Phillips adds that the trade show component also was dropped due to Covid.

“We are unfortunately not able to offer our trade show the way that we hoped to. However, all our attendees that are virtual can still look forward to the benefits of educational forums.”

Two days of virtual forums include updates from state legislators and U.S. Senators Sullivan and Murkowski and Congressman Don Young. Also – seafood marketing, safety, getting into mariculture and more. All of the forums will remain online long after. Phillips is confident the forums will attract a lot of interest, if the audience for a five day virtual Crab Fest last month is any indication –

“We had both in person and virtual events. But we actually had an audience of 44,000 tune in for Crab Fest that was virtual. So we actually got a lot more reach than what we typically do. We look forward to being able to expand that into ComFish. Naturally, they’re very different events but we are very aware that we have an audience outside of Kodiak, Alaska that’s interested in the information that’s going to be presented.”

Still, Phillips admits that Islanders will miss the swarm of visitors, trade show exhibitors and industry experts that normally fill the town during a normal ComFish.

“We can’t deny that our local hospitality industry is very highly impacted by this. Everything from our hotels to our B&Bs, our restaurants and bars. Kodiak is a really fun place for all of our attendees and vendors to come to and   we are missing that significant economic driver.”

ComFish is set for September 17 and 18 and viewers can live stream the events via Facebook, YouTube and the website.

Send questions for US Senate candidates to Theresa Peterson at