COVID-19 may have prompted a limit on physical travel during her second campaign for Alaska’s lone congressional seat, but independent candidate Alyse Galvin says she is getting a lot of mileage out of Zoom.
When the novel coronavirus pandemic hit Alaska earlier this year, Galvin’s campaign went mostly virtual, “and it is working out great,” she said in an interview with The Cordova Times.
Galvin is making her second run to replace Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, in the state’s lone congressional seat. Young won his first term in Congress 47 years ago.
“I was in Cordova at least twice virtually. Every day I am in at least three (gatherings with voters), all through Zoom. We have had town halls on various issues related to COVID, what to do when we have young children at home, what to do if we are unemployed for the first time, what to do if our business is going under.”
Topics of interest among her constituents, said Galvin, range from the Alaska Marine Highway System to postal service and education.
“I’m telling them ferries are a fundamental piece of the economy, that have to be protected and advanced,” she said. “The ferry is a lifeline, like the interstate highway system in the Lower 48,” she said. “Ferries move military families. Ferries are a big deal in emergencies. People come to get their health care via the ferries.”
Education is also a topic of much discussion with voters, she said. In 2014 she led a small group of parents in resisting proposed budget cuts for education. That effort grew into a grassroots movement to restore over $200 million in budget cuts to Alaska public schools, said the mother of four.
“A lot of people think it is very important for every child to get a good education, that the system is set up for that process that is so important,” she said. “I appreciate that all these opportunities are important. We can set up our kids for success.”
Galvin also is a big advocate for Alaska growing its own to fill the need for teachers, nurses and other statewide employment needs where there is a current gap in qualified residents.
People are also relating to her their concerns on their reliability on adequate postal service, she said.
“People are worried whether they will get their medicine,” she said.
Galvin said that recently she was on the phone with a 78-year-old Maine veteran who gets his medications in the mail. She did a little research and found out that most veterans get their medications primarily through the mail.
With so many people ordering more by mail because of the pandemic, the post office has also seen the loss of its own front-line workers, with 78 letter carriers dying of COVID-19, she said.
“People need to know we are facing a crisis and our leaders are not listening,” she said.
To revitalize the economy, Alaska needs more affordable health care and support for working families, she said. The state also needs roads, bridges and high-speed Internet everywhere, she said. Improved Internet service will help small businesses, who are a critical part of our economy, she said.
Galvin also is an advocate of more support for military families.
“Two out of five military children are on a reduced lunch program,” she said. Wages for those in the military “need to be at least at a point where they are confident they are being taken care of.”
Galvin has received endorsements in her campaign from the Alaska AFL-CIO and Emily’s List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics.
A statement issued by Alaska AFL-CIO President Vince Beltrami said that sentiments expressed at the union’s biennial convention showed that members recognize the significant contributions that incumbent Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, has made to Alaskans over the years.
“At the same time, this is a pivotal moment in our country’s history and Alaskans need a leader like Alyse Galvin,” he said. “Alyse understands the changing landscape that Alaska’s working people are facing and is committed to ensuring that the future of the Alaska labor movement is stronger than ever.”
Emily’s List also identified Galvin as a champion for the state’s working families.
“As an educator and a two-time small business owner who became the first in her family to earn a college degree, Alyse understands hard work and perseverance,” the statement from Emily’s List said.