US chamber chairman talks oil woes, election on Alaska trip

KETCHIKAN, Alaska – The chairman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce made a visit this week to Ketchikan, where he called on the presidential candidates from both major parties to focus on growth amid low oil prices.

Chairman John Hopkins spoke to the Greater Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce about topics including the global energy market and international trade. The national chamber doesn’t endorse presidential candidates, but it does take a stance on policy, he said.

It supports Republican Donald Trump’s statement on energy production and Democrat Hillary Clinton’s push for infrastructure spending, Hopkins said Wednesday.

He added the chamber is concerned about where the national political discourse on energy is headed, The Ketchikan Daily News reported (

“Our message is very clear to both candidates: If you want America to succeed, focus on growth,” Hopkins said. “. That’s how we pay our bills, defend our country and keep the American dream alive.”

Hopkins is the head of NuScale Power, a 700-employee engineering firm developing compact nuclear reactors. He was in Ketchikan to attend a Waterfall Foundation fundraiser benefiting breast cancer patients.

Hopkins’ visit came after an appearance in Anchorage in late July, when he announced the U.S. chamber’s endorsement of Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

At the end of his remarks to the Ketchikan chamber, Hopkins took questions from the audience about Alaska, which is struggling with a multibillion-dollar deficit brought on by low oil prices.

He said the current state of affairs might be the “new norm” for the world.

“But where is oil going? I don’t know,” he said. “It’s concerning to all of us.”


Information from: Ketchikan (Alaska) Daily News,