Democrat gubernatorial candiate Mark Begich, a former U.S. Senator for Alaska and former mayor of Anchorage, speaks during an interview in Juneau on Friday, Nov. 2, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Democrat gubernatorial candiate Mark Begich, a former U.S. Senator for Alaska and former mayor of Anchorage, speaks during an interview in Juneau on Friday, Nov. 2, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Opinion: Thank you, Alaskans, for your support in the election

Thank you, Alaska.

Debra Call and I are honored by every vote we earned and are humbled by all the Alaskans we had the opportunity to talk to. While the outcome was not as we hoped, we are so grateful for the incredible effort put forth by our team of supporters – from donations to phone calls to events and so much more. We know we asked for a lot over the last several months and it was both humbling and inspiring to see so many supporters step up to the plate because they believed in a positive vision and a better future.

As we said from the beginning, this campaign was never about us or any other candidate. Our campaign was truly about capturing the hopes and dreams of the Alaskans that we met as we traveled the state and lifting up the voices of all Alaskans.

Everywhere we went, we heard directly from Alaskans who were excited to be a part of moving Alaska forward. While folks would often share concerns, they also shared new ideas about securing the best education system in the country or make our communities safer. We had great discussions about expanding and diversifying our economy, and protecting our Alaska values — like a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions. And everywhere we went, Alaskans wanted to know how we could permanently protect the Permanent Fund Dividend as part of a long-term fiscal plan without mortgaging away the security of future generations.

As this election season ends, we cannot lose sight of what we can accomplish when we work together. There is important work left to be done and it will take all of us to make the change. For example, this election only had about 41 percent voter turnout and some of the big districts and rural Alaska were even less. The stakes are too high for more than half of voters to disengage from the process. We must do a better job of finding, engaging and supporting voters all across the state. That is the only way we can fight for our issues and protect our shared values.

We know many of you remain concerned about the challenges facing our state. Please remember, we will never be able to solve our problems if we remain divided. We must come together just as we have done so many times throughout our state’s history. Working together to solve tough problems is what Alaskans do because it is who we are. As long as we continue that tradition, we know our best days will always be a head of us.

• Mark Begich was the Democratic governor candidate and Debra Call was the Democratic lieutenant governor candidate in this year’s general election.


• Mark Begich was the Democratic governor candidate and Debra Call was the Democratic lieutenant governor candidate in this year’s general election. My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not that of the Juneau Empire.


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