WHY I’M RUNNING
I’m a commercial fisherman, an orthopedic surgeon, and a lifelong Alaskan. My wife Monica and I opened a medical practice here, raised four kids, and sent them to Alaska public schools. For me, it’s always about Alaska.
I learned about public service at a young age. My father, Avrum Gross, was Attorney General for Governor Jay Hammond, the father of the Alaska’s Permanent Fund Dividend. My mother, Shari, was the first Executive Director of the United Fishermen of Alaska and founded the League of Women Voters Alaska. They instilled in me strong Alaskan convictions – toughness, resilience, and independence. Those values are too rarely seen in politics and government these days.
I value leadership, and have sought opportunities to serve from a young age. Starting out as Class President at Juneau - Douglas High School, I later served as President of the Bartlett Regional Hospital Medical Staff, where I worked to make sure all staff were treated fairly and their concerns were addressed. I later founded and served as President of the Juneau Bone and Joint Center.
I’ve travelled from Anchorage to Bethel, from Fairbanks to Thorne Bay, from Juneau to Utqiagvik. Everywhere I go, people tell me they are sick of the hyper-partisan politics in Washington – politics being championed by Mitch McConnell and our own senator Dan Sullivan, who has voted the party line 97% of the time.
Alaskans want a new kind of leadership – someone who listens and someone who puts Alaska first. I’m ready to bring Alaska’s values to Washington and to finally tackle some of the biggest issues facing our state and country.
Our healthcare system is broken. As a doctor, I’ve seen firsthand the struggles Alaskans and small businesses face with the prohibitively expensive cost of quality healthcare. In Alaska, we pay more for healthcare than any other state in the country. As your senator, I will first work to balance Medicare by negotiating directly with the pharmaceutical industry in order to redirect funds from the drug companies to the providers. Then, I will support an option to buy into Medicare, at cost. This will help grow the economy and invite new business opportunities into our state. I’ll take on big pharma to decrease drug prices and hold them accountable for the opioid epidemic that has destroyed the lives of too many Alaskans. And I’ll defend a woman’s right to choose and fight attacks on safe, affordable reproductive healthcare.
I’ll be an advocate for our students and labor force and for creating good-paying jobs here in Alaska. That starts by raising the minimum wage and defending collective bargaining rights for our workers and unions. As the father of college students and recent graduates, I also know how important a college education can be and how cost-prohibitive higher education is for many Alaskans. I will fight to make college more affordable and accessible for all Alaskans and I support earlier tracking into trade schools.
With a background in science, I know what a serious threat climate change is to the State of Alaska, where we are literally losing villages to the ocean. I believe we can continue to create jobs and grow our economy while taking major steps to protect our land and water and reducing carbon emissions. In Alaska, we have enormous potential to develop wind, hydroelectric, solar, and tidal power as new energy sources. Reducing energy costs in rural Alaska creates new jobs and it’s good policy for our people. And I oppose the Pebble Mine project that threatens Bristol Bay, our natural salmon fishery and the livelihood of those who live there and fish those waters.
Finally, we must fix the corrupt campaign finance system that undermines our democracy and prohibits our politicians from being held accountable when they stop working for us. I will fight to end Citizens United and get dark money out of politics.
We can change Washington, and it starts by changing the people we send there.
As a doctor, I’ve taken an oath to serve my patients. As a commercial fisherman, I know how important it is to listen to the people I work with and give them my respect, and put my faith in them. I know how to work together with folks to fix problems and make people’s lives better.
And I’ve taken on some tough challenges. I took out a loan to buy a fishing boat at age 14 and have provided medical care to patients in the depths of the wilderness. I’ve prospected for gold and sailed through gales in the Pacific Ocean. And I’ve faced off with multiple grizzly bears and am still here to tell the tale. So, I’m ready for anything Washington tries to throw at me. And I will always be there to fight for Alaska.
Dr. Al Gross