Chair’s Corner: During tough times, let’s remember the positive

With all the negativity happening around our country and the world, I thought it would be refreshing to remind ourselves that good things are happening too. Here’s just a sample of some good stuff the Tongass Democrats have been doing.

Greg Smith, Kathleen Jorgensen & Nancy Courtney at our May 2016 adopt-a-highway trash pickup.

Spring highway cleanup
In May, we did our annual adopt-a-highway cleanup along Egan Drive from the Juneau-Douglas Bridge to Whittier Avenue. As usual, it was raining, but the weather really wasn’t too bad. And on a really positive note, there wasn’t nearly as much trash along our stretch of highway as in past years, so that’s great news!

I missed getting a picture of this year’s cleanup volunteers, but here’s a pic from our 2016 effort. It’s always good to help beautify Alaska’s capital city!


Twin Lakes Playground donation
Following the devastating fire at Twin Lakes Playground, the Tongass Democrats voted to donate $500 to support the efforts to rebuild the playground. Senator Egan, Representatives Kito and Parish, and I had the honor of presenting our $500 donation to Amy Skilbred, Executive Director of the Juneau Community Foundation, at the Capital School Playground in July.

Joined by Sen. Dennis Egan, Rep. Justin Parish, and Rep. Sam Kito III, Nancy Courtney presents Tongass Democrats’ donation to Amy Skilbred for the Twin Lakes Playground.

Plans to rebuild the playground are in the works, as stated in a recent Juneau Empire opinion. The fundraising goal for the new playground is $250,000, and our wonderful community continues to donate generously to this worthy cause. Stay up-to-date on the effort on the Fundraising for Twin Lakes Playground Facebook page. You can also donate through the Juneau Community Foundation Project Playground Special Project donations page to help reach the $250,000 fundraising goal.

It is so heartening to know we live in such a wonderfully generous community that comes together to prioritize doing positive things for Juneau families!

Front Street Clinic collection drive
Our web administrator recently posted a detailed article on our “Week of Kindness” effort, but it was such a great success, I think it’s worth reiterating.

Just some of the items donated during our Week of Kindness
collection effort for the Front Street Clinic!

The Tongass Democrats wanted to participate in Juneau’s 2017 Year of Kindness and decided to collect necessary items for the Front Street Clinic, which provides medical care without regard to patients’ ability to pay. With the hard work of some very dedicated volunteers, generous Juneau residents helped us gather hundreds of items and over $1,200 to support the Front Street Clinic

The generosity of Juneau-ites never ceases to amaze me! We thank everyone who volunteered to help, donated items or gave money.  We especially thank the Juneau Police Department for bringing kindness efforts to Alaska’s Capital City!

U.S. Senator Cantwell (D-WA) visit
It is not often national politicians visit Juneau. This past week we were honored to gather for lunch with Washington State’s Democratic U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell in support of her 2018 re-election bid.

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) speaking in Juneau last week.

Clearly, Alaska and Washington State share many concerns and interests: health care, fisheries, timber, and climate policy, just to name a few. It was so refreshing to hear a Democratic United States Senator’s perspective of what’s going on in Washington, D.C. – something Democrats haven’t heard in Alaska since 2014!

It also reconfirmed my faith in the strength of our nation, to know that we still have very capable progressive politicians in Washington, D.C. fighting for the democratic values we believe in.  It was also refreshing to hear of Senator Cantwell’s great working relationship with Senator Murkowski and about some efforts they have worked on together on behalf of our neighboring states.

As Democrats, progressives, and liberals know, we cannot afford to lose ANY Democratic seats in the U.S. Congress. Surely the Democratic National Committee and all state Democratic parties will be working hard to gain seats in the 2018 midterms.

We need to keep Senator Cantwell in the U.S. Senate, and she needs our support to win! I encourage you to donate to her efforts at Friends of Maria.

I hope everyone remembers to celebrate wins and count blessings during difficult times, because they are just as real as all of the struggles.

Thank you!

Until next time.…
Nancy Courtney
Chair, Tongass Democrats
(907) 321-2285

The views in this piece are those of the author. They are not official positions of or the Tongass Democrats.

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