U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski discusses her reelection campaign with supporters during the official opening of her Juneau campaign headquarters Thursday evening at Kootznoowoo Plaza. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire File)

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski discusses her reelection campaign with supporters during the official opening of her Juneau campaign headquarters Thursday evening at Kootznoowoo Plaza. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire File)

Opinion: Alaska’s ports and waterfront industry needs Sen. Murkowski

  • By Dennis Young
  • Wednesday, August 24, 2022 5:11pm
  • Opinion

For more than three decades, I have been a member of the International Longshore Warehouse Union (ILWU), working as a longshoreman throughout Alaska. We perform all types of work in the ports across Alaska: loading and unloading cargo on container vessels, tying up and letting go cruise ships, handling baggage for passengers, packing seafood in containers, moving pipe for pipelines, moving fracking sand for developing oil fields, and loading timber.

It’s hard work, but it’s rewarding—knowing that we are the backbone of multiple Alaska industries: tourism, seafood, timber, oil and gas. Senator Lisa Murkowski has long championed our work, fiercely supported Alaska’s waterfront industry and the ILWU Alaska longshoreman division–especially as we struggled to make ends meet during the pandemic. She understands and supports that good wages and benefits are necessary for our waterfront workforce for stronger Alaskan communities.

In attending Arctic Council meetings, I’ve had the privilege of hearing firsthand of Senator Murkowski’s inspiring vision for connecting Alaskans through roads and bridges, for positioning Alaska as a global Arctic leader, and for ensuring our working families can thrive here for generations to come. The bipartisan infrastructure package, which will bring an unprecedented billions of dollars into Alaska, is the latest example of her effectiveness.

Senator Murkowski is Alaska’s most powerful advocate in unlocking resources we desperately need from the federal government. Because of her seniority, Alaska has been able to show what we can provide the country. In confirming the first longshoreman to the Federal Maritime Commission, she recognized that Alaska and our country needs someone with decades of experience moving cargo on the waterfront, to find solutions to improve the nation’s ports and the supply chain problems. Alaska is a maritime state – whether it is moving most of our cargo or moving people by the Alaska Marine Highway. To meet our port infrastructure needs, we need Lisa in the Senate.

Like many Alaskans, I am sick and tired of partisan politics. Democracy means everyone has a right to an opinion and civil discourse. Senator Murkowski is a proven statesman and consensus-builder. She finds a way to work through problems and find common ground with anyone. I believe in Lisa making Alaska and the USA better for the working class!

• Dennis Young lives in Juneau and is a member of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Alaska Longshore Division. He is a lifelong, second-generation Alaskan whose son is also an ILWU member.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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