Gov. Mike Dunleavy, a Republican, and former state Rep. Les Gara, a Democrat, listen as independent former Gov. Bill Walker speaks at a forum for the candidates for Alaska governor on Sept. 2, 2022, at the Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Andrew Kitchenman/Alaska Beacon)

There are many reasons why we Alaskans would be wise to elect Les Gara as our state’s next governor. Among them are his positions to better address the climate crisis that is taking an increased toll in Alaska and around the world; protect women’s reproductive rights, including the right to abortion; better fund Alaska’s public education system while increasing students’ opportunities for success; better protect — and where necessary, restore — Alaska’s wild fisheries, most notably its wild salmon runs; end the unnecessary and foolish giveaway in tax credits to the oil industry and instead put that money to work for Alaskans (including a more realistic “living wage” for low-income workers); ensure equal rights for all Alaskans; reduce health care costs and better address mental health needs; and support a “vibrant, sustainable” tourism industry. The list goes on, but that’s a good sampling.

Here, I’d like to suggest another reason to support Gara, one that’s not been highlighted in his campaign for governor. Of all the gubernatorial candidates who will appear on the November ballot, he is far and away the most likely to act in the best interests of Alaska’s wildlife and state-owned wildlands.

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