AboutThe AvalancheAl was born in the wake of an avalanche in Juneau in 1962. Their house, at the foot of Mt. Juneau, was nearly buried in snow just days before Al was born. His mom, Shari, was home alone with her 1-year old daughter, Jody, while Al’s dad Av was out of town on business. Neighbors helped Shari dig out and day after day brought meals to the house in support. Al has learned first-hand how Alaskans have each other’s backs. When someone falls down, Alaskans help to pick them up. That’s just the Alaskan way: we look out for one another. Growing up in AlaskaAs a teenager growing up in Alaska Dr. Al Gross learned what makes Alaska the special place that it is. His father, Avrum, was Alaska’s Attorney General alongside Governor Jay Hammond. Governor Hammond was a Republican and Av was a Democrat. Av and Jay worked across party lines to help create the Permanent Fund, the Permanent Fund Dividend, and many more great programs. They showed that by working together, Alaskans can get great things accomplished for our state. That lesson has inspired Al to run for the United States Senate as an Independent. First BoatGrowing up in Southeast Alaska, Dr. Al Gross developed a passion for fishing, both sport and commercial. At age 14 he bought his first commercial fishing boat with a bank loan and had 3 boats before he bought his first car. Al trolled, purse seined, longlined, and gillnetted all over SE Alaska, the Gulf, and in Bristol Bay for 10 full summers. Through this he was able to pay his way through college and medical school. Al continues to commercial gillnet fish for salmon in the summer. Working hard has always been an important part of Al’s life. Meeting MonicaAfter graduating from College, Al went on to pursue his medical career at the University of Washington’s WWAMI (Alaska affiliated) program. He spent his first year of the program studying and training in Fairbanks, and the other medical school years were based out of Seattle. It was during his medical training that Al met his future wife Monica. They were classmates and met in 1986 on their first day in Seattle and went on to get married in 1990. They then went on to University of Michigan where Al did his Orthopedic Surgery training and Monica did her Pediatric training. An Alaskan FamilyAfter completing their medical training, Dr. Al and Dr. Monica returned to Al’s hometown of Juneau. Together they raised four great children: Eric, Evan, Ariana, and Alexandra. While raising their children, Al and Monica worked hard as doctors, and supported their community through volunteerism and mentoring. Al and Monica instilled in their children the same sense of Alaskan pride, independence, and love for hard work that Al learned as a child growing up in the shadow of many of Alaska’s greatest leaders. Their kids have each spent at least 5 seasons commercial fishing throughout Alaska and like Al, have supported themselves through college with their hard work. Identifying the ProblemAfter almost 20 years of supporting Juneau’s community as a successful Orthopedic Surgeon, Dr. Al Gross left his private Orthopedic practice. He was discouraged by how high health care costs were affecting Alaskan individuals, small businesses, and the Alaskan economy in general. It was clear to Dr. Al that Alaska’s economy was being held back by these high costs of health care and that the system was rigged against normal folk, and he wanted to get involved to improve it. Finding the SolutionIn 2013 Dr. Al and Dr. Monica Gross left their medical practices and went back to school. They received master’s degrees in public health at UCLA and studied solutions that would make health care better and at a lower cost. After receiving his degree Al turned his focus to advocating for these solutions, including creating a public healthcare option that will give Alaskans the choice to buy less expensive insurance through the healthcare exchange. As a United States Senator, he’ll get it done.