As we Alaskans face the days ahead with the uncertainties of COVID-19, I am convinced that our shared values and caring for each other will be the essential elements that carry us through to an even better Alaska.
In the weeks and months ahead, we will be challenged in ways most of us have never encountered before. From Utqiagvik in the north, to Hyder and Metlakatla in the south, and from Attu to Eagle and points between, our lives and expected plans have been interrupted. For many, the current reality and the uncertainties ahead are truly frightening. The only thing we can control is how we respond.
I, like all of you, have been paying attention to the guidelines published by our country and state’s health leaders. As citizens, we must respond to the best of our ability by following guidelines and being resilient, resourceful, and level-headed Alaskans. I am confident we will rise to this occasion.
We will need to respond with patience as health experts ask us to honor quarantine and practice other measures meant to “flatten the curve.” We will find ways to help each other while jobs and paychecks are in limbo, while neighbors are ill, and while services such as child care and senior services are limited.
As a member of our state Legislature, I realize I have a solemn responsibility to help Alaskans statewide as we walk through all the challenges looming ahead. Having grown up in this great state, and having been raised in Ketchikan, I know that Alaskans, when faced with tragedy or crisis, have a great capacity for perseverance, optimism, and compassion. We choose collaboration and charity toward others over harboring our fears.
Every Alaskan knows exactly what I am talking about. We will weather this storm because, although Alaskans are geographically distant from each other, we also take great pride in the connectedness of our relatively small population.
When we get to the other side of the very real trials ahead, I imagine stronger communities built on kindness, resourcefulness, and generosity, and that growth starts today.
— Rep. Dan Ortiz
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