About Les Gara

Les’ Story: Growing Up In Foster Care

Les GaraLike many Alaskans, Les grew up without wealth or privilege. When he was six, a robber broke into his father’s office. He was working late and the robber killed him. Les grew up in foster homes, where he lived for twelve years until he graduated high school. While Les worked from grade school through law school, he had good public schools and the opportunity to succeed. That’s what everyone deserves: an equal right to opportunity, liberty and justice.

Les has received national awards for his work supporting Alaska’s foster youth (2018 Adoption Excellence Award and 2017 Casey Excellence for Children Award) so they, too, have a much-deserved chance to prosper and succeed.

Opportunity For All

Les and his wife Kelly have had many opportunities in their 33 years in Fairbanks (1988-1989) and Anchorage. Les was fortunate to find good work, including as an Assistant Attorney General on Alaska’s civil prosecution of Exxon after the disastrous Exxon Valdez Oil Spill. Kelly has made her way as a much-loved hospital physical therapist. They came to an Alaska with great opportunity. But today, for many Alaskans, opportunities are disappearing.

Les and Kelly Gara

Governor Dunleavy has made life in Alaska, and the chance to succeed, harder for people in both large and small communities. He’s violated Alaska law by not distributing millions of dollars owed to local communities, forcing many of them to raise local property taxes to pay for state obligations. His cuts have damaged a university that’s been forced to eliminate vocational education (job training certificates) and higher education courses. His attack on the University of Alaska has taken money out of the economy, money that doesn’t get spent at small businesses. It’s damaged the ability to train Alaska workers needed by Alaska businesses. It’s damaged the opportunity to succeed.

Les has worked and voted to support schools, Alaska’s university system, and job training, and helped strengthen the state’s financial aid plan so more students and employees can get needed scholarships.