We are all Americans who enjoy the right to vote

Dear Editor and Fellow Americans.

So now what folks? Respected national election officials keep telling everyone that it was an honest/free election with few examples of fraud. Definitely not enough fake votes to reverse the election. The courts agree. Now there is this effort to keep Trump in office undermining everything we stand for.

I’ll be honest I was so disappointed by so much the last 4 years under the Trump administration but I/We survived. We are still divided and need to figure how to make up with each other for the sake of American democracy.

Yes, I have been outspoken about the Trump administration, their policies and those that enabled him and couldn’t wait for 2020. That being said like all USA citizens I am an American, I still believe in our democracy. I urge all of us to stop and think about the right to vote and how important it be protected. I urge all Americans to continue to be involved and protect freedom and equality for all without violence.

It’s been ugly and it’s up to all of us to fix this mess we are in. I’m grateful to live in a democratic country where my vote counts and I hope as an American you are too. My wish in the next 4 years is we end this pandemic and we find common ground, the first one being we are all Americans who enjoy the right to vote. Respectfully,

Beverly A Hoffman

Bethel, AK

This year’s election was a success

This year has been one for the record books, and this month’s election was no exception. Turning out in numbers that haven’t been seen in over decade, more than 350,000 Alaskans exercised their sacred right to vote. I’m pleased to report that the Division of Election’s continued careful review of each and every ballot is on track to confirm that this year’s general election was conducted fairly and without any trace of fraud.

My thanks go out to every Alaskan who chose to participate in our democratic process. For many of us, this was the most challenging election of our lifetimes. The Division of Elections worked hard to accommodate the comfort levels of all Alaskans.

Your response was tremendous. Nearly 100,000 voters chose to mail their ballots in, while almost 12,000 received their ballots online. Another 27,000+ voters chose to vote early in-person. Never before have so many Alaskans utilized election day alternatives, and I’m grateful for your dedication to protecting your families, election workers and communities.

For those who chose to vote on election day, a safe environment was provided at over 400 polling locations across Alaska. Precautions were taken, social distancing was followed, and even in villages under lockdown protocols, residents were provided the means to vote through in-person absentee voting.

Thanks to the diligence of voters and our hardworking election workers in taking all available COVID-19 precautions, no known outbreaks occurred as a result of in-person voting. With over 20% of Alaskans choosing to vote in this manner, this is truly a monumental achievement that we can all be proud of.

I would like to also thank the candidates who patiently waited for election results in the weeks following election day. The unprecedented number of mail votes required a special approach to prevent duplicate ballots from being accepted. With several races decided by just a handful of votes, it was critical that we eliminate these double votes before the mail ballots were added to the tally. Given that 82% of Alaska’s communities have no road access and many are serviced by plane only once or twice a week, time and good weather was needed to gather and scan each of these absentee ballots.

As I’ve said from the beginning, I will always prioritize accuracy and fairness over speed. Alaskans deserve to know that every legal vote was counted, and no unfair advantages were had. There can be no compromise when it comes to the foundation of our democracy.

Finally, I want to express my appreciation for the thousands of election workers who showed up, many for the first time, when we needed them most. Between the global pandemic and this year’s tumultuous national political climate, the hype preceding this election was unprecedented. Alaska’s election workers gave of their time and, given the pandemic, accepted a level of personal risk to ensure each of us could have a say in the future of the state and republic we cherish.

There’s no doubt 2020 has challenged all of us in unexpected ways, but amidst the chaos, elections are a chance for us to come together – to demonstrate our shared commitment to democracy while expressing our hope for a better tomorrow. Facilitating that process was the honor of a lifetime, and I thank every Alaskan who made this election such a success.

Lt. Governor Kevin Meyer

Juneau, AK

Conservatives embrace “above-all” approach to energy

Alaska’s rich reserves of energy is truly what makes this great state flourish, but truth be told, we’ve only just scratched the surface of our potential. With an area that’s one-fifth of the entire Lower 48 and boasting a diverse geography, Alaska is positioned to excel under an “above-all” energy approach, which is not complete with a full embrace of clean energy. Thankfully, our conservative leadership is ready to deliver on it.

Despite false narratives that purport otherwise, clean energy aligns naturally with conservative values. Take for example Governor Mike Dunleavy. In his 2020 State of the State, Dunleavy pointed to the fact that while Alaska is rich in energy, we have yet to succeed in harnessing its real power to the point where it brings costs down for Alaskans and strengthen our economy. Renewable sources like solar, hydropower, geothermal and wind offer an alternative as innovations continue to make clean energy increasingly cost competitive. In fact, costs for renewables reached new lows last year and in most parts of the world, renewables are the lowest-cost source of new power generation. Meanwhile, energy efficiency upgrades can help lower the total amount of energy needed.

More than that, Dunleavy was right in saying that the moves we make now will set us up for years to come. Accounting for 2.25% of the nation’s overall employment, the clean energy industry is one of the largest employers in the U.S. economy and growing fast. In the last five years, it added jobs 70 percent quicker than the overall economy. While the clean energy industry was hit hard with the coronavirus pandemic, progress can and must be made to support clean energy workers. These skilled career paths directly impact our communities. For one, small businesses are responsible for nearly two out of three clean energy employment opportunities.

At the end of the day, our Governor is not alone in understanding the benefits from expanding opportunities for the clean energy industry to grow here in Alaska and across the nation. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan are both supportive of an approach that leans into the diversity of our energy assets and supports America’s leadership in technological, energy breakthroughs.

Notably, Murkowski, who chairs the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has used her position to strengthen clean energy and energy innovation projects for a more sustainable future. And her energy well-known American Energy Innovation Act will certainly modernize our nation’s energy industry to position the United States as a global leader in energy while increasing our ability to rely on clean energy resources. As her advocacy has continued amid the pandemic, including working alongside her Republican colleagues to draw attention to how developing the clean energy sector can aid our recovery, she’s proven adept at building actionable approaches that reflect a conservative viewpoint but can still draw bipartisan support.

As Congress reconvenes for the lame duck session, it is imperative that they work to pass bipartisan legislation, such as the American energy Innovation Act, so that Americans can feel more empowered that real clean energy solutions are taken seriously in Washington. We as Alaskans know what’s important: fostering a state where its citizens can succeed as well as protecting this great land and Artic region we get to call home. By promoting the growth of clean energy, we can do both. From the Governor to our congressional delegation and all the way down the ticket, Alaska’s Republicans should be applauded for their leadership on clean energy. I am excited to see where it will take us and encourage more Alaskans to support them every step of the way.

Alex Grant

Anchorage, AK

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