Murkowski thanks Berkowitz for COVID response: “You led early”

Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz in March (Alaska Public Media)

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.”

She cited his decision to shut bars and restaurants for on-site eating and drinking. The mayor’s order took effect in Anchorage 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 state House with Berkowitz – she as a Republican, he as a Democrat.

The Anchorage mayor’s office is a non-partisan position. Berkowitz’s term ends next year. He has not confirmed nor denied speculation that he plans to run for governor.

Liz Ruskin is the Washington, D.C., correspondent for Alaska Public Media. She reports from the U.S. Capitol and from Anchorage. Reach her at

Previous articleAnchorage emergency declaration extended to June, some measures to relax in coming weeks
Next articleAlaska’s personal use and sport fisheries will stay open amid COVID-19 pandemic