The Anchorage Daily News asked candidates for U.S. House running in the special primary election to answer a series of questions. Read all of their responses here.
AL GROSS*, nonpartisan from Anchorage
What in your background qualifies you to represent Alaskans in Congress?
Born and raised in Southeast Alaska, I am Alaskan through-and-through. My mother, Shari, was the first executive director of the United Fishermen of Alaska and founded the Alaska League of Women Voters. My father, Avrum, was the attorney general of Alaska and worked alongside Gov. Jay Hammond to create Alaska’s Permanent Fund and the dividend. I raised my family and practiced medicine in Juneau for almost 20 years. I know firsthand what makes Alaska special: our people and our land.
Why are you running for U.S. Congress in Alaska?
We can change Washington, and it starts by changing the people we send there to represent us. I’m not a career politician. I’m a doctor, a commercial fisherman, a father of four, and a lifelong Alaskan. I am running for Congress as a nonpartisan independent. The two parties are controlled by the extreme left and the extreme right, which have paralyzed our government. For me, it’s always about doing what’s best for our people and our state. We need leaders who have one goal: to get things done.
What would be your top priority if elected to Congress?
My top priority as your Congressman will be to help create jobs, bring capital projects to the state, and to diversify our economy by lowering energy, transportation, and health care costs which will make it easier for businesses in Alaska to prosper. The Russian invasion of Ukraine highlights the need to adequately fund the U.S. military based in Alaska, and to invest in Alaska-based energy sources to ensure the U.S. has energy independence.
What is your position on abortion?
My mother Shari always reminds me that before Roe v. Wade, women had to choose between the law and their lives. My wife Monica and I refuse to allow our daughters to be forced to make the same life and death decisions. As a doctor, I understand that health care decisions are personal and complicated. We must keep the government out of our personal lives, including our health care decisions. When I’m elected to Congress, I’ll vote to finally enshrine women’s reproductive rights into law once and for all.
If legislation came before the U.S. House that would guarantee the same abortion rights nationwide as the Roe v. Wade decision, how would you vote?
If you support abortion rights, what limitations, if any, do you think should be placed on those rights, such as waiting periods or a specific point in a pregnancy where abortion should no longer be legal?
I support a woman’s right to access abortion and other health care services free from unnecessary restrictions placed by the government that interfere with a patient’s individual choice or a woman’s relationship with her doctor.
Would you support a bill, if it came before the House, to expand the size of the U.S. Supreme Court? Why or why not?
No. It sets a dangerous precedent that could backfire in the future.
What do you think should be done by the federal government to address mass shootings?
I support universal background check legislation. I support personal interviews by local authorities for assault weapon purchases, which should be funded by federal legislation and held to a national standard so that people don’t drive across a state border to a more lenient state. I had to be interviewed and cleared by a TSA agent to get my Global Entry/TSA pre-check card to fly, and I believe this level of scrutiny is also appropriate if someone wants to buy an AR-15. I also strongly support the federal government funding mental health programs that help prevent gun violence.
Do you support gun control legislation? If so, what kind of measures would you support? If not, why not?
I am for common sense regulations. We need to restore a sense of responsible gun ownership — as Alaskans know well — by ensuring background checks are thorough, sufficient, and mandatory. I agree with the American Academy of Pediatrics’ positions to fund gun violence prevention research at $35 million for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and $25 million for the National Institute of Health, and to allow family members or law enforcement to petition a judge to temporarily remove firearms from a person deemed at high risk of harming themselves or others.
*Note: Gross is one of several candidates who are also running in Alaska’s regular U.S. House primary election in August.