In this May 7, 2020 photo, Sen. Dan Sullivan wears a mask at a hearing in Washington. (Kevin Dietsch / Pool)

Opinion: Alaska is fortunate to have Dan Sullivan

The stakes have never been so important.

  • Wednesday, October 7, 2020 12:53pm
  • Opinion

Having grown up in Alaska and as a longtime Juneau businessman involved in the transportation and visitor industries; I am continuing to support Dan Sullivan for U.S. Senate. The stakes have never been so important, and I know Alaska and the visitor industry needs him now more than ever.

The visitor industry, and all of us who work in it, are being tested in ways that would have been unimaginable just months ago. The complete shutdown of the cruise industry, the national and international travel restrictions in place, along with strict coronavirus protocols have all combined to devastate many small businesses throughout our state that depend on visitor travel.

If Dan Sullivan, and the rest of our congressional delegation, had not fought hard and worked overtime for Alaska’s share of CARES Act funding, our businesses and employees would be in far worse shape.

Senator Sullivan knows that the COVID-19 pandemic is one of the most significant crises our nation has faced from both an economic and public health standpoint. His support of the CARES Act, which included many provisions for Alaska, and subsequent legislation, provided billions in relief to Alaskan families and businesses – especially in the hard-hit visitor industry.

Numerous times this Spring, Sullivan made himself available to Alaskans for updates and questions during weekly statewide public town halls and virtual meetings with groups like the Alaska Tourism Industry Association and the Alaska Chamber, just to name a few. In those meetings he listened to Alaskans and learned of the need for changes to the Payment Protection Program. He worked tirelessly to get a seasonal business fix in place that ensured tourism businesses across our state were able to receive significantly larger PPP loans to keep employees on payroll and better weather this huge storm.

Dan Sullivan’s opponent called this assistance a “bailout”. That is an insult to the numerous businesses across Alaska who see these funds as a lifeline, using them to keep their doors open and Alaskans employed. Sullivan has vowed to continue fighting for future legislation to develop treatments, cure the virus, and create more Alaskan jobs as our economy recovers.

Dan Sullivan understands Alaska and he understands how much the visitor industry contributes to our State. For these reasons and more, I continue to stand with Sullivan. Please join me in voting for Dan Sullivan on Nov. 3. Thank you.

• Bob Jacobsen is a lifelong Juneau resident who founded Wings of Alaska and Wings Airways. Columns, My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire. Have something to say? Here’s how to submit a My Turn or letter.

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