Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan of Alaska sits for an interview Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020, at the Peninsula Clarion in Kenai, Alaska. (Jeff Helminiak / Peninsula Clarion File)

Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan of Alaska sits for an interview Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020, at the Peninsula Clarion in Kenai, Alaska. (Jeff Helminiak / Peninsula Clarion File)

Opinion: Experience and accomplishment beats dishonesty and lack of character

“Sen. Dan Sullivan has earned reelection on Nov. 3.”

  • Friday, October 30, 2020 6:30am
  • Opinion

Alaska’s 2020 U. S. Senate race has turned into one of the most negative I’ve ever seen. Alan Gross, the Democrat nominee, has set a new low bar in his attempt to spend the millions of dollars pouring into his campaign from Outside dark money groups.

Those asking for the privilege to represent Alaska at the very highest levels of elected office should be the most qualified and most deserving of the honor. I don’t want someone representing Alaska who stands proudly proclaiming after countless outright false and misleading attack ads, “I’m Alan Gross and I approved this message.”

Gross’s campaign ads accuse his opponent, incumbent Sen. Dan Sullivan, of secretly pushing the Pebble Mine (Sullivan opposes it), voting against lower-priced prescription drugs (Sullivan voted against a Bernie Sanders amendment allowing non-FDA approved drugs) and in favor of denying insurance coverage of pre-existing conditions (Sullivan has never supported that.) Gross’s accusations are all demonstrably false, but they continue day-in and day-out because he apparently doesn’t care about the truth or running an honorable campaign, only winning.

[Candidates clash in broadcast debate]

Gross claims to be an “independent” but this is more deceit. He has changed his party affiliation numerous times including changing from a registered Democrat just months before filing for office. On a private call with Democrat donors, now made public, Gross admitted his “values are to the left” and that he will “caucus with the Democrats.” Democrats have told him his best chance to get elected is to pose as an “independent.”

Gross lacks experience in any kind of leadership position, elected or otherwise. With no accomplishments or recognition to cite, he has resorted to attacking his opponent hoping no one will notice he hasn’t earned the respect and recognition that comes with community involvement and public service.

Most stunning is the total absence of grassroots support for Gross in his hometown. After earning up to $2.5 million annually during his 20-year career as an orthopedic surgeon in Juneau, one must wonder two things: First, where is his legacy of philanthropy? There seems little evidence of any significant contributions to the fundraising campaigns of his community’s many arts and cultural organizations or social service agencies. Second, where are the legions of classmates, colleagues, patients, and hospital personnel who would presumably step up to attest to his character, judgement, generosity, and record of community service?


Weigh that against Senator Sullivan’s experience and record.

Senator Sullivan served under President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Economic, Energy, and Business Affairs and as a Director on the National Security Council, where he worked to dismantle terrorist finance networks. He also served as Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources prior to being elected to the U. S. Senate. Dan holds a B.A. in Economics from Harvard University and a joint Law and Master of Science degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.

Dan Sullivan’s extensive expertise in military, national security and international affairs is critical, not only to Alaska but to the nation.

Since his election to the U.S. Senate, Dan Sullivan has been a leader in rebuilding our country’s military, promoting responsible resource development, opening markets for Alaska fishermen and cleaning up our oceans. He has worked to expand benefits for our veterans and to help society’s most vulnerable, especially survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence and those recovering from addiction. Now, in the face of unprecedented challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Senator Sullivan continues to fight for Alaska’s health and economic future.

We deserve a senator whose roots in the state are deep. We need someone who has demonstrated he genuinely cares about Alaskans and will fight for all of us, not just for the political party aiming to capture Alaska’s U. S. Senate seat.

Sen. Dan Sullivan has earned reelection on Nov. 3.

• Win Gruening retired as the senior vice president in charge of business banking for Key Bank in 2012. He was born and raised in Juneau and is active in community affairs as a 30-plus year member of Juneau Downtown Rotary Club and has been involved in various local and statewide organizations. 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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