I’d like to take a moment to talk about something that needs to be openly discussed in our community, and every community in the state.

Suicide — it’s an epidemic and we need to have ongoing conversations about how to prevent it.

While the death (Oct. 17 at the Alaska Federation of Natives convention) wasn’t directly connected to the Anchorage School District, suicide has a big impact on our lives.

We’ve seen the news about the rash of deaths in villages statewide. As a young boy, I lived in one of those villages and I can’t help but feel connected.

We all know Washington, D.C., is far away from Alaska, but just because it is far away doesn’t mean that the dysfunction there doesn’t hurt our economy. It does!

Since June, Congressional gridlock has sidelined the federal Export-Import Bank. This small agency helps Alaskan companies sell their goods overseas by offering loans and insurance products when no private sector alternative is available.