February 15, 2022

Press Release: Jessica Cook, Teacher & Former Education Association V.P.,  Announces Run For Lt. Governor 

“People deserve a better future with strong schools, good jobs and a living wage, not a state people are leaving.”

Today Palmer resident, teacher, and former vice president for both Alaska’s and Anchorage’s education associations announced she’s running for Lt. Governor alongside gubernatorial candidate Les Gara.

Alaska-born Cook, who teaches in Eagle River said, “I’m running because I want a better future, with good jobs and good schools, so our children and grandchildren can stay here.” 

According to the Department of Labor, 20,000 more people have left Alaska than moved here under the current Governor. They’ve taken their needed job skills to other states. 4,000 more people moved away than moved here last year. “People are leaving because they see no commitment to public education. They see an economy that’s lost jobs since before the pandemic,” said Cook. 

Like Gara, Cook grew up with hardship. She tragically lost her mother when she was three. She was raised in an adoptive home and later by her loving grandparents. “People have a right to a good education, and a good-paying job with a living wage, regardless of their background, hardship, or whether they’re born rich or poor,” said Cook. 

Cook is a 20-year public school teacher. She was raised in a military family and married her husband Ed, an Air Force veteran. Cook has three children, five grandchildren, and has earned two master’s degrees in education.

“Jessica brings energy, intelligence, and a needed perspective to a state where people see little commitment to public education,” said Gara. Gara and Cook have known each other for over a decade. 

“Alaskans are losing jobs and educational opportunities because of a lack of leadership. Giving away $1.3 billion in oil company ‘tax credit’ subsidies makes us poor. That prevents us from building the future of good schools, good jobs, and funding a stronger dividend than we’ve seen under this Governor. It’s wrong to give away the value of Alaska’s resources and then pit Alaskans against each other to fight between schools, a strong University, police in dozens of communities that have none, a PFD, and the things that can build a stronger state,” said Gara.

Cook and Gara support a return of construction and other jobs needed to address a $2 billion state and University infrastructure maintenance backlog. They support responsible development, but believe the Governor’s backing of the proposed toxic Pebble Mine threatens jobs, fishing and the world’s greatest wild salmon runs.