Tomorrow marks 20 years since September 11, 2001—one of the most tragic days in our nation’s history. On that day, America fell victim to unprovoked terrorist attacks which took the lives of nearly 3,000 Americans and injured another 6,000, including firefighters, paramedics, and police officers.
Many of us can vividly remember the events that unfolded at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the heroic story of Flight 93. We watched many brave men and women running into danger in service of others, representing the true American spirit. Across our nation, we pause to remember the impact of 9/11 and how it forever changed our country.
But this year’s anniversary is even more significant, as it comes just days after the end of America’s longest war. The past two decades have not been an easy chapter, nor have they been without setbacks and sacrifices. While I have strong views about the unraveling that we’ve seen in the last few weeks, my message today is this: Our country is forever grateful to the nearly 800 thousand Afghanistan war veterans, those who volunteered to wear our nation’s uniform and fought to defend the freedoms we hold dear. Their mission has not been in vain. We honor the heroism of over 24 hundred service members who made the ultimate sacrifice during this war and we pay special tribute to their families and loved ones who carry on their memory.
On this day, officially known as the National Day of Service and Remembrance, my heart is with all of the families, loved ones, friends and allies whose lives were changed on 9/11 and the 20 years that followed. Let us continue to honor and thank all of those who sacrificed so much by coming together as neighbors, as volunteers, to embody that “spirit of service” and community on this national day of unity. Let us not forget that we are—a United States—and in our darkest moments, our common bonds are stronger than any fears. We are friends and neighbors, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters—and our politics ought not divide us.
Fulfilling the promise America provides, not just to its citizens here at home, but to those suffering oppression across the world, requires each and every one of us to be better to each other, for each other. God Bless.
U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski
I’m running to create a brighter future, strong rural communities
I want a brighter future for all Alaskans, wither Rural or Urban. That’s why I’m running for Governor. We have a state that’s been so neglected that people have been leaving for a record four years in a row.
Like many of you, I grew up with hurdles in my way. My father was killed by a robber who broke into his office when I was six. Twelve years in foster care taught me that everyone deserves a fair chance in life.
We can do better than a Governor who’s tried to raise high rural power costs by stealing $1 billion from our Power Cost Equalization (PCE) Fund. And we can do better than the loss of thousands of good-paying jobs, threats to our fish, harmed communities, closed small businesses and less opportunity to for people to succeed.
That means an economy with good paying jobs and good wages. It means good schools, real and equal opportunity, and treating elders with dignity – things I always fought for as a legislator.
Governor Dunleavy has taken a wrecking ball to these things.
As a legislator I stood up for all Alaskans. That’s why one angry urban legislator called me the “Rural Representative from Anchorage”. He meant it as an insult. It was a compliment to me, as I was fighting to get needed help to Rural communities, not his and not mine.
Governor Dunleavy has done the opposite.
He’s violated almost every campaign promise he made. He tried taking $1 billion from our PCE fund his first year in office, and again this year until a court stopped him.
He campaigned on education, then tried to cut a staggering quarter-billion dollars from our public schools. Eliminating 2,500 teachers and educators, and leaving students behind, isn’t a plan. It’s neglect.
He’s done nothing to improve Rural internet, and it’s embarrassing that the only help we’ll get will come from the President and Congress.
Lower cost energy matters. The Governor has left this energy state energy poor. We can save money for people in rural and urban communities with needed renewable and other cost-saving energy projects. The cost of diesel is too high and too unpredictable, and we need to act.
We can bring back 6,000 good-paying jobs across Alaska by supporting the state construction budget we had before this budget crisis. Alaska has $2 billion of neglected, ready projects on our state and University deferred maintenance lists. The Governor has let buildings and infrastructure decay. He’s kept thousands of people out of work for three years.
I enjoy fishing like many of you. Commercial, subsistence and sportfishing are bedrocks for our economy. Our common interest in protecting our fish binds us. We should find solutions for communities where king, chum and silver runs have crashed.
I’ve supported our responsible oil development and mining jobs, including the mine at Red Dog Mine. But the toxic Pebble Mine threatens the greatest wild salmon runs in the world. Unlike Governor Dunleavy, who still stands with the foreign Pebble Mine owners, I’ll stand with you to prevent this toxic catastrophe.
Governor Dunleavy temporarily backed off some of his radical agenda to survive a Recall. But his push for devastating cuts to schools and elders, and his decimation of a University that’s also the biggest vocational education provider in the State, will all continue if he’s re-elected.
I’ll never pit Rural and Urban Alaskans against each other. I’m on my way to Igiugig this week, just got back from Nome where Kelly and I visit a lot, and have loved my time travelling Rural Alaska from Dillingham to Bethel to Goodnews Bay to Kobuk to Kotzebue, and many communities in between. Our First Alaskans, and our Rural communities deserve an equal voice.
Then there’s the main job he promised to do, and never did. He’s ducked Alaska’s seven-year budget deficit, and spent away $16 billion in savings as a legislator since 2013, and now as Governor. He’s tried grabbing our savings, our scholarship and PCE funds because he has no plan.
In December he said he wanted “$1.23 Billion” in taxes he wouldn’t identify. In April he shifted to a $3 billion raid on the Permanent Fund, the biggest raid in Permanent Fund history. Taking an extra $3 billion from the Permanent Fund means lower annual Fund earnings to pay for PFD’s, schools, construction, police, and roads.
You never received his promised “Statutory PFD” because it was a false promise he used to get votes, and has never delivered. The “statutory PFD” he falsely promised would be $3,860 this year.
Now he says he wants a 40% smaller “non-statutory” PFD. We need a real PFD you can bank on with revenue to pay for it, not endless fights and empty campaign promises. We can grow the Permanent Fund faster with options like letting people who don’t need the PFD know that if they decline it, their share will go to grow the Permanent Fund to help others.
We need fair revenue to solve the deficit. That requires ending unaffordable oil company subsidies Governor Dunleavy voted for in 2013, and that I voted against. His “oil tax credits” are corporate welfare we can’t afford. I support the oil industry, but we should partner with it, but not be junior partners.
Alaska can’t afford four more years of this. I’ll work for you so we can build a brighter future, together. Please visit www.lesgara.com for more information.
Les Gara is a candidate for Governor, a former Alaska State Legislator and Assistant Attorney General. He’s lived in Alaska with his wife Kelly since 1988.