Dr. Al Gross of Juneau is an Independent candidate for US Senate  

Dr. Al Gross of Juneau has fished his whole life, his kids fish, and he’s a surgeon. Gross is an Independent candidate running against Republican Dan Sullivan for the U.S. Senate.

Gross says fishermen’s health care issues is a reason he entered the race.

“As a doctor, I stepped up and proposed a means of fishermen obtaining affordable health care, which I know is a really big deal because so many of my friends are commercial fishermen, and seeing how much they’re spending to buy individual policy plans, it really hurts their bottom line. It’s a real struggle. And,   Sullivan’s done nothing about that. And he voted down Affordable Health Care over and over again in the Senate. And that’s a big part of what incensed me to step up and run against him.”

Dr. Gross advocates for  “a public option allowing individuals like commercial fishermen to buy Medicare at a cost that will allow them to obtain affordable health insurance at a fraction of what they’re paying right now on the private market.”

Impacts of climate change on fisheries is one of Alaska’s biggest challenges, Gross says. Another is ongoing trade wars.

 “First and foremost, we need to solve this tariff problem with China. It’s really hurting the prices for pink salmon, chum salmon. It’s limiting our exports to China dramatically. And that needs to be fixed and fixed fast. And, it’s directly attributable to President Trump’s trade war that Sullivan has done very, very little to  correct.”

He also called the Russian embargo against buying any US seafood since 2014 while the US continues to purchase Russian seafood “unfair.”

it’s not fair and Russia should buy from us if we’re going to buy from them. And we should be promoting consumption of American seafood products, Alaskan seafood products, in our schools and we shouldn’t be consuming Russian seafood in our schools.

Dr. Gross sees shellfish and seaweed mariculture and using more of each fish as two of Alaska’s biggest opportunities. Also, expanding Alaska waters from three to 12 miles, as other states have done.

 “It would give you more control over our fisheries, it would allow us to obtain more taxation on our coastal resources that would be directed to the state. It would give our state more opportunities in the oil and gas industry. And it would close loopholes that the cruise ships are taking advantage of with their dumping. It would also give the state more control to keep an eye on and minimize the bycatch that’s going on.”

Gross credits Sullivan for “being responsive to fisherman’s concerns” but said “I’ll be better because I’ve got a strong background, in fisheries and throughout my life, I have deep concerns for the health of our oceans and rivers.”

Most importantly, Dr. Gross says he will be an independent voice for Alaska.

“Dan Sullivan represents a rubber stamp for Donald Trump. And he does not step outside the box. He doesn’t come up with independent thoughts. He never disagrees with the president, publicly. And I think   issues like the tariffs need to be addressed in an outspoken way. And Sullivan just hides in the shadows on all these contentious issues. And I really believe that Alaska deserves a more independent senator that’s willing to speak out on the issues that matter most to the state, not just a rubber stamp for Trump’s policies.” 

Interestingly, Al Gross’ mother Shari, was the first Executive Director of the United Fishermen of Alaska and founded the Alaska League of Women Voters. His father, Avrum, was the Attorney General of Alaska and worked with Governor Jay Hammond to create Alaska’s Permanent Fund and the Dividend.