It has been an exciting two months out on the campaign trail. Everywhere I go, I hear from Alaskans who have big dreams for a better future in Alaska. Boundless optimism along with the innovative, bold Alaska spirit and willingness to put in the hard work are truly what makes Alaska the best place to live — and why Deborah and I have raised our family and built our businesses here.
It has also become clear to me, however, that Alaskans believe we are at a pivotal moment. With growing public safety concerns, a lagging education system and a lack of long-term fiscal stability, folks are frustrated with a state they see as a rudderless ship with no direction. And they are fed up with politicians who are more interested in the next election rather than the next generation of Alaskans.
Elections are supposed to be about issues. Candidates should use their campaigns to demonstrate their ability to lead and implement change and let Alaskans see who shares their values and will fight for their families. That is why my campaign has been focused on talking about my positive vision for building a better future for all Alaskans. I have already laid out two of my comprehensive plans — and we are just getting started.
The first, my Keeping Alaska Families Safe plan builds on my record as mayor of Anchorage when we added more than 80 police officers and two prosecutors to the U.S. Attorney’s office who were part of a strategic effort to get drug dealers, gang members, and violent criminals off the streets and behind bars.
I have also laid out my Alaska Women & Families plan as part of my commitment to support and promote policies that empower women and families amidst the ongoing series of extreme attacks against women coming from Washington, D.C. My plan reinforces my commitment to bring my record of fighting for equal pay for equal work, protecting a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions, and promoting safe, healthy communities for all Alaskans.
I knew we would face some headwinds when we entered the campaign late, but I also knew this was a fight worth fighting and one we could win. Since June 1, we have opened our statewide campaign office, built a dedicated team and group of volunteers, released our first radio ad, and thanks to the support of so many Alaskans, have been competitive in our fundraising right out of the gate.
I know there is a lot of chatter about the dynamics of a three-way race. While politicians and special interests want you to believe they already know how this election will end, it will be the voters that decide.
Alaskans have had enough of the mud-slinging politics that have kept us stuck at a standstill for too long. So while others in this campaign are busy fighting each other, I will keep pounding the pavement and earning your vote. I believe candidates must earn each and every vote on every campaign and that is what I am going to do.
Our opponents may raise and spend more money than us, but no one will outwork us.
It is time to give Alaskans something to believe in and vote for — not run an election driven by fear. That is why I am asking you to join our campaign to move Alaska into the future. I hope you will visit our office and our website at begich.com to volunteer, support our team, and see my vision for how we build a better future for all Alaskans.
• Mark Begich is a former Anchorage Mayor and a former Democratic U.S. Senator from Alaska who is running for the Democratic nomination for governor.