Murkowski thanks Anchorage Mayor Berkowitz for COVID-19 response: ‘You led early’

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz are of different parties. But they held a joint media briefing this week, and Murkowski made a point of praising Berkowitz for acting quickly to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

“I want to personally thank you for your leadership,” she said Monday by teleconference. “You stepped out very early on these initiatives.”

Murkowski cited his decision to shut down bars and restaurants for on-site eating and drinking. The mayor’s order took effect in Anchorage on March 16, two days ahead of the governor’s statewide closure.

Murkowski described it as a bold, forward-thinking move to protect Anchorage residents and all Alaskans from COVID-19.

“You led early on other closures within the community that a lot of people were very uncomfortable with,” she said.

Murkowski served in the Alaska House of Representatives with Berkowitz — she as a Republican, he as a Democrat.

The Anchorage mayor’s office is a nonpartisan position. Berkowitz’s term ends next year. He has neither confirmed nor denied speculation that he plans to run for governor.

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