Wrangell got some national attention on the Fourth of July, but it wasn’t for its parade.
It was because Lisa Murkowski came for a visit. She was one of only four of the U.S. Senate’s 52 Republicans to make a public appearance during the national holiday.
Longtime Alaska journalist Julia O’Malley covered Murkowski’s Wrangell visit for the Washington Post.
“I would say 85 or 90 percent of the people who came up were talking about health care and her being sort of moderate on that issue and potentially not voting for the GOP proposal,” O’Malley said.
“She certainly didn’t commit to vote one way or another, but seemed very sympathetic to the concerns of people around her who were just dealing with issue of cost and access,” she added.
O’Malley, who stood beside Murkowski, says residents shared their own health-care horror stories. She says the senator seemed particularly moved when one woman spoke of $10,000 deductibles that discouraged her from seeking medical care.
Murkowski spent part of her childhood in Wrangell.
“She was in the crowd. Her family was working at the Holy Burger food stand. She was really easy and comfortable talking to lots of people and a lot of people who she knew,” O’Malley said.
St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church ran the Holy Burger stand.
The Washington Post article also focused on Susan Collins of Maine. She and Murkowski are among GOP senators critical of the Senate’s health-care proposal.