OPINION: Putting economic solutions above partisanship

Alaskans are known for being practical, hardworking and friendly.

We are also known to have an independent streak. We often zig when the rest of the country zags (whether in politics, lifestyle or fashion). We regularly overcome obstacles to achieve impressive feats. The Iditarod is a perfect example.

Though they may not admit it, most Alaskans take pride in these perceptions. We know that these characteristics are essential for success in our state’s exceptional but unforgiving weather and terrain.

Most importantly, we are keenly aware that little can be accomplished here without working together. Every day, Alaskans plow each other out, share the bounty of a successful harvest in their communities, and do whatever they can to take care of complete strangers in the face of earthquakes, floods or blizzards. It’s who we are.

Sadly, with each election cycle, these characteristics seem to be in short supply from our national leaders. Spirited debate among lawmakers is healthy, but too often our elected officials have shown a willingness to back into partisan corners and worry more about “giving the other side a win,” than finding solutions to the issues we face. That may be the state of things Outside, but it doesn’t have to be how we do things in Alaska.

That’s why we are part of the Alaska Jobs Coalition.

Our group is a diverse collection of Democrats, Republicans and independents from across Alaska joined by the common belief that we need political representation that likewise is practical, hardworking and focused on what’s best for our state — not party-first politics.


The Alaska Jobs Coalition is not affiliated with any candidate or electoral campaign. Rather, we are focused on advancing a strong, resilient economy and holding leaders accountable for growing Alaska jobs and strengthening Alaska’s economic infrastructure. We are not interested in divisive social issues that serve as distractions from our goal of generating more jobs for Alaskans. We are here to build our state for the long-term benefit of all Alaskans.

We have seen plenty of recent action from Alaska’s leaders to give us encouragement.

Communities across Alaska are benefiting from the 2021 bipartisan federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act largely due to Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s engagement in direct negotiations with the White House, which ultimately resulted in billions of dollars of investments in critical infrastructure in our state. Those projects are “hitting the street” now, as they say in the construction business, generating jobs and developing the infrastructure we need to build a modern Alaska.

Similarly, Rep. Mary Peltola has consistently put Alaska jobs first in her votes supporting domestic energy production. Mary’s work with the White House was instrumental in getting approval for ConocoPhillips’ Willow oil project on the North Slope at a time when the administration has fought oil and gas projects elsewhere in Alaska. As a result, ConocoPhillips has committed to spend upwards of $7.5 billion building Willow over the next five years. The company estimates that work will support roughly 2,500 high-paying construction jobs.

Alaska’s economy is on the move and the ranks of the Alaska Jobs Coalition are growing. We invite all Alaskans to join us in our push for political representation and political action that puts Alaska’s economy ahead of partisan scorekeeping.

Andrew Guy, Bob Shefchik, Doug Tansy, Gary Dixon, Heidi Drygas, Joelle Hall, Joey Merrick and ex-officio member Matt Singer are board members of the Alaska Jobs Coalition. Learn more about the group at www.alaskajobscoalition.org.

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