EDITOR, Daily News:

Happy Fourth of July! This year, we are celebrating 244 years as an independent nation. In 1776, our representatives from all 13 colonies declared our independence from the British monarch. The vote for freedom actually happened on July 2, and in the following two days, Congress, led by Thomas Jefferson, focused on writing and finalizing the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration was signed on July 4th, now known as our Independence Day. Thus began the ‘Great American Experiment’ to pursue “a more perfect union.”

This Independence Day, I encourage you to celebrate your freedom by finding your role in creating a More Perfect Union. The mission of a More Perfect Union is to have a system that treats all men and women as being created equal and endowed with certain unalienable rights. How can you be a part of the process? One way is to vote!

As your representative, I consider voting to be a fundamental right of democracy. This year’s voting may look different because of COVID-19 restrictions. Last week, Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer announced that the Division of Elections will be sending absentee ballots to all registered voters over 65. Voting from home will be safer than going to a crowded voting place on Election Day. Anyone can vote by absentee, and you can request a ballot from the Alaska Division of Election’s Website: http://www.elections.alaska.gov/.

As you enjoy the Fourth, remember that COVID-19 will not pause for our holiday; please continue to wear a mask in public and keep social circles small. Celebrations can still include small backyard barbeques, hikes with family, and watching fireworks. Have a safe and enjoyable Independence Day!

REP. DAN ORTIZ

House District 36

Ketchikan