- - Wednesday, March 31, 2021

When I was growing up in Alaska, life wasn’t always easy, but it was prosperous and safe, brimming with opportunities for anyone with a dream and drive. 

It was the sort of place that drew people looking for a better way of life, which is why my parents moved here before I was born. They had their share of struggles, including being homeless and living in a tent for a while. But they persevered. My father became a union electrician, and my mother was one of the first workers at Prudhoe Bay.

I’m running for the U.S. Senate to be a voice for Alaskans who feel forgotten by Washington, D.C. — the men and women whose livelihoods in the oil and gas industry are under attack, the children who are not receiving the education they deserve, and the women and youth who are victims of sexual abuse and human trafficking. As a Republican challenger for the U.S. Senate in 2022, I am running for Alaska.

In the nearly 20 years that Lisa Murkowski has been a U.S. senator, she has become better known as a dependable vote for Democrats than as a reliable voice for the people of Alaska. She occupies a seat she literally inherited from her father, former Gov. Frank Murkowski, who appointed her to fill his unexpired Senate term when he became governor in 2002. All told, there has been a Murkowski in the U.S. Senate since the first year of President Reagan’s first term. That’s long enough.

As the years have passed, Ms. Murkowski has moved farther and farther out of touch with Alaskans. She refused to support President Trump in 2020 and enabled Joe Biden’s radical agenda to end drilling and kill Alaska jobs. She voted to allow illegal immigrants to remain in the country. She voted against common sense federal judges. She voted to keep Obamacare, which has led to higher costs and fewer choices in health care for Alaskans. And she voted to remove Mr. Trump from office, even though his term had already expired. For that last bit of poor judgment, she was censured by the Republican Party of Alaska.

I will work to rebuild the Alaskan economy and fight to protect the jobs of thousands of Alaskans who work in our energy industries, which are under assault by leftists in Washington. I will defend and help rejuvenate small businesses, which are the backbone of our economy in Alaska and across the country. I will be a strong voice against illegal immigration, as a threat to public safety and as competition for legal residents looking for jobs. I will be an advocate for the military, as I come from a family which has fought in major American conflicts from the Vietnam War to the Revolutionary War. I put America first every single day, am resolutely pro-Second Amendment and unapologetically pro-life.

Government too often forgets its charge — to work for the people instead of the other way around. That’s why my professional career has been focused on rooting out waste, fraud and abuse in government, leading me to serve as the chief data officer for the Inspector General of the U.S. Postal Service under Presidents Trump and Obama. Most recently, I served the people of Alaska as commissioner of administration for Gov. Mike Dunleavy from January 2019 until I stepped down this week when I made my decision to run.   

I was born and raised in Alaska, and I was not a senator’s daughter. I watched my parents struggle to make their mortgage payments for years, much like countless Alaskans are struggling today. I became the first member of my family to pursue a college degree and later graduated from law school. Then I went to work helping to make government more responsible to the people — the ones who pay its bills.

I did not make the determination to run lightly, and I thank God for my wonderful husband, Niki, and our five beautiful children, who together made this truly a family decision.   

In the coming election, we have a real chance to chart a new course for Alaska, for our people who have fire in their hearts and a desire to rebuild our great state. We deserve a senator who remembers us, and who believes that government should be of, by and for the people of Alaska.

It is time we had a U.S. senator who represents Alaska to Washington, D.C., rather than one who represents D.C. insiders to Alaska.

• Kelly Tshibaka is a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Alaska.

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