Alyse Galvin, Non-partisan, running in the Democratic Primary
Biographical Information: I am a third-generation Alaskan. Like too many children, I grew up in a home with trauma and abuse, but my community and local public school in the Anchorage Government Hill neighborhood lifted me up and gave me the tools and confidence I needed to persevere. I was the first in my family to graduate from college, earning a degree in political science from UCSD. I went on to become a small business owner, mom of four, and a fierce advocate for public education. After serving two governors in Alaska—a Republican and an Independent—I built a bipartisan grassroots movement of parents, teachers, students, and community leaders to fight budget cuts to Alaska’s public schools. Under my leadership, Great Alaska Schools grew from 40-4,000 members and saved Alaska schools from over $100M in cuts. It was through this work, and my own family’s struggles, that I came to know the everyday challenges facing Alaskan families.
I ran for Congress in 2018 as a first-time candidate and won 47% of the vote against a 47-year incumbent. In 2020, I am back to finish the job so that I can work for Alaskans. It’s time for a leader who listens to Alaskans and fights for good jobs, lower healthcare costs, and an education system that prepares our children for jobs so they can build a life for themselves right here in Alaska.
Responses to Voter’s Guide Questions:
1. The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the Constitution was passed by Congress in 1972 with an arbitrary deadline for ratification that other amendments have not had to meet. The ERA Amendment has finally been ratified by the required number of states and now Congress must vote to remove the deadline added to the 1972 Congressional approval. S. J. Res 6 will do that to allow the ERA to become part of the Constitution. Please discuss whether or not you support this bill and explain why.
I support this legislation because many women continue to face significant discrimination and have to fight for rights that should be secured by the U. S. Constitution. Women are still statistically paid less than men, leading to challenges with accessing healthcare, caring for their children, and achieving a good quality of life. Women experience higher rates of gender-based and domestic violence, an issue of staggering scale here in Alaska compounded by limited access to housing, childcare, resources, and law enforcement, and by generational trauma. Passage of the ERA would provide necessary protections for women and would reinforce our country’s commitment to treating all people equally. It is simply time as a nation to stand up and support the equality of women. My opponent, Representative Don Young, recently voted against legislation which would have helped pass the ERA by removing the ratification deadline.
2. Many citizens see the country as very divided along partisan lines. In contrast, bipartisan effort in the creation of strong public policy is essential in our democracy. Please explain the opportunities you see for Democrats and Republicans to find common ground on the very serious issues facing our country.
I am running for Congress as an Independent to put partisan bickering aside and find real solutions to our challenges. Americans are suffering because of this gridlock. Like most Alaskans, who put their state before any party identification, I’m also a political Independent. I won’t answer to party bosses—I’ll only answer to the people I serve. In my grassroots organizing work fighting for Alaska’s public schools, I brought Republicans, Democrats, and Independents together in a bipartisan way to save schools from over $100M in funding cuts. It is still possible to roll up our sleeves and bring people from both sides of the aisle together to work for common goals. I will bring this commonsense approach to Washington. Alaskans cannot afford a dysfunctional government that cannot work together—the serious issues we face are too great. Alaska and the country are ready for leaders who can deliver solutions to the challenges we face, and I am ready to do that work.
3. The Voting Rights Advancement Act (VRAA S. 561) is a bill that supports the right of every eligible citizen to have access to the voting process. Since 2013 when the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOUTUS) removed the pre-clearance process of the 1965 Voting Rights Act in Shelby vs Holder, the incidents of voter suppression have increased. The VRAA would modernize the pre-clearance process. Please discuss whether or not you support this bill and explain why.
I am a long-time advocate of preserving voting rights and encouraging people to vote. I support this bill because we need to support Americans as they exercise their right to vote in a system that is secure, safe, and simple to navigate. We are seeing efforts to restrict voting rights in this country. Attacks on the Voting Rights Act are attacks on our democracy. We should remove all barriers to voting, and no one should be restricted from voting because of their race, ethnicity, or economic barriers.
In past elections, I have led non-partisan efforts to encourage voting and increase awareness of voting opportunities, focusing my efforts on under-represented communities. In 2016, I turned by RV into a rolling billboard to encourage voting, and we drove through neighborhoods with a loudspeaker and live band to get the word out abut the power of voting. In Congress, I will work to make sure all Americans can vote.
4. Americans have watched or participated in weeks of protests that are motivated by the desire for justice and policing reforms. What kinds of policies, if any, would you pursue to promote social and racial justice in our society? If you do not think change is needed, please explain why.
Alaska has traditionally been a place of great opportunity for those willing to work hard—we must make sure that this dream is attainable for all. I want to work to remove structural barriers that keep the ladder of opportunity out of reach for too many Americans. The values I will bring to Washington are grounded in advocacy for every individual to have equal access to education and skills leading to good work so that they can take care of themselves and their families.
I will be mindful especially of our most vulnerable and fight to ensure our systems are delivering justice and opportunity for everyone. I will fight for quick actions and accountability in housing, education, and justice, and I will monitor the outcomes carefully to ensure those outcomes meet expectations. I will pursue policies to expand access to affordable healthcare and quality education, especially for young families, because this is fundamental to equality and justice. I will work together with our citizens and our law enforcement to put a spotlight on needed reforms, to ensure that our communities are safe, and to bring trust back to our public institutions.
It is important to acknowledge that the lands that make up Alaska are the territory of hundreds of tribes who have inhabited and cared for them since time immemorial. We must be mindful of this reality as we work toward greater social and economic equity.
5. While the United States remains one of the world leaders in health care innovation, the cost of healthcare and healthcare insurance continues to grow beyond the financial means of many of our citizens. What do you propose for both the short and long term to ensure affordable healthcare access for all?
Alaska has the highest healthcare costs in the nation. Too many families in our state are facing healthcare bills that continue to rise each month. Costs are forcing many seniors to move out of state, instead of being able to retire here after a lifetime of work.
We need our leaders to find solutions that can bring down costs of healthcare and prescription drugs. In addition to finding ways of structurally reforming our system, there are actions we can take right now: allow the government to negotiate with drug companies so that we can lower prescription drug costs, increase Medicare reimbursement rates so that more Alaskan doctors can provide care, permit buying prescriptions safely from other countries like Canada, and lower healthcare premiums by teaming up with other small-population states to expand our coverage pool.
To make longer lasting changes, we must approach these challenges in a bipartisan way and evaluate what is working. We can look at successful models to emulate and scale up, such as Alaska’s innovative Nuka system which has resulted in improved wellness at lower costs by focusing on preventative care and improved doctor-patient communication.
The burden of healthcare on Alaskan communities is one of the factors that pushed me to run for office, so I look forward to pursuing legislation bringing stability to the system and lower costs for all Alaskans. More certainty of healthcare costs will bring important benefits to small businesses and overall economic stability to Alaska and the nation.