To my fellow House members,

Events over the past week have forced open the doors of opportunity. I respect Representative Knopp for recognizing the fragility of a small, partisan majority. Our government was not established by one party or the other, nor one region. It takes people on both sides of the aisle, and all parts of our great state, coming together and putting the needs of Alaskans first.

I urge all of us to put aside party differences to form a coalition that’s united in acting for the best interests of all Alaskans. I envision a coalition in which members are committed first and foremost to compromise for the common good, rather than for the interests of our political parties and other dividing forces.

The words of late Senator John McCain ring true: “The most revered members of this institution accepted the necessity of compromise in order to make incremental progress on solving America’s problems… I hope we can rely on humility, on our need to cooperate, on our dependence on each other to learn how to trust each other again and by doing so better serve the people who elected us.”

At the end of the day we are beholden to our constituents, all of them. The needs of our districts are as diverse as our state, but with a strong independent House we can achieve them. Although I may be the only member with an ‘I’ next to my name, my experience serving in the legislature has shown me that we are more effective when we all work across party lines. In the most recent session, we were only able to pass important pieces of legislation when members of both caucuses pressed the yea vote.

As Abraham Lincoln said during his Gettysburg Address, “We are not enemies, but friends.” We ultimately strive for the same goal: the betterment of Alaska – an Alaska that is safe, healthy, and prosperous. As we begin organizing for this upcoming term, I appeal to “the better angels of our nature” and ask that we stand united in our shared commitment to our State. Let’s get to work.

Respectfully,

Representative Dan Ortiz