Alaskans’ future — if not our very survival — is at stake.
Through no fault of their own, Alaska families find themselves living in a dangerous situation, facing decisions that will determine how we address threats to our wellbeing. We are at the tipping point of living sustainably for this and future generations.
Alaskans’ health is on the line with the current COVID-19 pandemic; we have no national or state plan to address it. Our economy has hit a wall with record joblessness. Our environment is undergoing significant and frightening changes, with fisheries, tourism and our clean air and water in peril.
In less than a month, we are to choose someone to lead us out of this horrible mess. The question is who?
As an Alaskan of more than 40 years, a Marine Corps veteran and member of a large Irish Catholic family, my training and life experiences have taught me it’s critical to have reliable trustworthy leadership in battle situations. It’s imperative we have a leader who has demonstrated they can form a strategic plan, gather key troops, and keep families safe while getting the job done.
As a Catholic, I look for someone who has concern for others as a priority. As a veteran, I look for someone I trust who has strength of character, courage and wisdom to lead in battle.
This November’s decision of who should lead our country could not be more important or the choice more clear.
Former Vice President Joe Biden proposes a national attack plan to deal with the pandemic. He will rely on science, public health experts and first responders and be honest with the American people. Although President Donald Trump says we are at war with the virus, he refuses to develop or allow a national battle plan because he’s worried doing so might affect his political chances.
Every Alaskan knows climate change threatens our state, with rural villages eroding into the ocean, food security at risk and our economy on the skids. Biden has announced a comprehensive national plan to address climate change impacts. He will re-establish climate change as a national priority and partner with the rest of the world to recommit America to this global fight. Trump has responded to this threat to our planet by denying it exists.
America’s economy is in shambles as result of the pandemic. Biden has listened and worked with communities, business and labor in developing an economic stimulus package to put our people back to work. For Alaska, this means building roads, bridges and other infrastructure and ensuring rural communities have access to clean water and eliminating the “honey bucket.” Even Trump sees the wisdom in changing course to follow Biden’s “Build Back Better” leadership.
Throughout his career, Biden has honored and served America’s men and women in uniform. He is committed to properly preparing and equipping our troops when they are sent into harm’s way and respecting their service when they return home. Trump calls our soldiers and veterans “losers” and “suckers.”
Trump is an unmitigated failure for Alaska and America. He’s presided over the COVID-19 deaths of 200,000 Americans — more than any country on Earth — let our national economy collapse, and has callously separated children from their mothers at our borders.
Biden is a man of solid character, a proven leader who knows how to bring our best and brightest together to address the horrendous challenges to Alaska and our nation.
There’s only one choice for this Marine and others who treasure our democracy; and only one choice for those with strong spiritual values caring for all families and children: Joe Biden.
• Jim Ayers was executive director of the Exxon Valdez Trustee Council from 1993-1995, served as chief of staff for Gov. Tony Knowles from 1995-2002, was director of the Alaska Marine Highway System from 1989-1992, and was Vice President of Oceana (International Ocean Conservation Organization) from 2002-2011. He is currently a consultant with a focus on conservation. He has resided in Juneau for 40 years and coached baseball for over 20 years.