Tory O’Connell Curran, Margot O’Connell, Chandler O’Connell (KCAW photo/Berett Wilber)
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Note: The opinions expressed in commentary on KCAW are those of the author(s), and are not necessarily shared by the station’s board, staff, or volunteers.

Tory O’Connell Curran — I have lived in Sitka for 40 years. My two daughters were born and raised here, and they still live here along with my granddaughter. We are grateful to live on Lingít Aaní. We are a commercial fishing family. In the upcoming election, I and my family will be voting for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, because now more than ever we need to put people before politics and take better care of each other, our communities, and our environment. 

Over 215,000 Americans are dead and 7.5 million more have been left with pre-existing conditions because of the Trump administration’s mishandling of the Coronavirus Pandemic. The administration’s failed response to this crisis has destroyed Alaska jobs and greatly decreased the value of our fisheries. Instead of prioritizing an economic recovery for all, they have served corporate interests and exacerbated historic environmental injustices. All of this comes at a moment when science tells us there is no time to delay on climate change action. 

Chandler O’Connell — Biden and Harris will tackle the pandemic, invest in sustainable job creation and re-invigorate regional economies to build a new American infrastructure and a clean energy economy. They will ensure that environmental justice is centered in where, how, and with whom we build, allowing us to right wrongs in communities that bear the brunt of pollution, and lift up the best ideas from across our state and nation – rural, urban, and tribal. They stand against the Pebble Mine and other projects that aim to exploit our natural resources at the expense of our fisheries and our communities.                      

In 2020, in addition to facing climate change, we are still fighting for equal rights, a livable minimum wage, affordable childcare, and access to quality healthcare. Biden and Harris have concrete, substantive plans to make progress on all these fronts. They also have the moral integrity to be leaders for all Americans, even in difficult moments. 

Margot O’Connell — This stands in stark contrast to the Trump administration, which has poured gasoline on every fire facing our country, from attacking women, people of color and the LGBTQ+ community, to illegally ripping immigrant children from their parents, to encouraging hate groups to “stand by,” to nominating an anti-healthcare judge to the supreme court in the middle of a pandemic, to holding a super-spreader event in the people’s house, where they recklessly ignored public health guidance from their own experts. The lack of empathy, compassion, and common sense that our country has been subject to over the last four years is astounding. And for what gain? Our economy is at a historic low not seen since the Great Depression and the only people thriving under Trump’s leadership are millionaires and billionaires. 

As Alaskans we are supporting Joe Biden and Kamala Harris because we support their four pillars for rebuilding our economy, their commitment to social justice and equity, their plan for COVID response and their emphasis on people before politics.

Chandler O’Connell — Alaskans deserve better than what we have been given these past four years.

Tory O’Connell Curran — Our country needs true leadership, and Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are the right people for the job. 

Thank you, and be sure to vote.

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