In villages, the school is the heart of activities. Celebrations, sporting events, and funerals take place in the largest facility available, the school. Closing a school is closing a community. Telling families they are no longer important by shutting them out, or forcing them to be split apart, there is no reason for them to stay. Communities lose their vitality and reason for existence.
Mike Dunleavy proposes cutting funds and closing schools to balance the budget. It is the only plan he touts. He supported huge cuts to education funding. This thinking will hurt Alaska’s children instead of supporting them. Education is a large portion of the budget as it should be. We MUST provide the best education possible to have competent leaders. Forcing children to leave their homes to be educated is not the answer.
The failure of forcing Alaska’s children to leave their families and homes to attend school is clear. Does Mike Dunleavy understand the state was sued over this exact issue and LOST? Further, the state was sued over a lack of resources being put into schools in rural communities and LOST. Creating boarding schools in hub towns will not work. It has been tried and it FAILED.
I supported Bill Walker, and I now turn to Mark Begich. As a retired 37 year teacher, my most important issue is education. Supporting families is paramount in assuring our kids have the education they need.
Mark Begich supports protecting education funding and supports forward funding to help school districts plan ahead. His administration will further unite the education community. He will provide stability to our teachers and our students. A vote for anyone but Begich risks taking us back to pink slipping teachers, or shutting down our community schools.
Support for Alyse Galvin
Don Young is the only US House representative most Alaskans under the age 65 remember. In many ways, he has served rural Alaska well, and we have fond memories of his much-admired wife, Lu.
Times have changed, though, and Don is now wed to a political party whose interests are very different from the long term interests of Alaskans who are concerned about climate change, education, health care, conservation of resources and world peace. Further, Don seems to fully support most of the views of his party and some of the harsher views around minorities as our current president does.
We have the opportunity to elect Alyse Galvin who has the capacity to empathize with rural Alaskans—a person who won’t just say she is concerned about the opioid crisis, but who might actually do something about it; a woman who has proven herself capable of raising more money than Don Young without beholding herself to corporations; a candidate who may well be in the Democratic majority after the mid-term election.
Like most rural Alaskans, I do love a good party, and I believe we should have a very big retirement bash for Don—seriously.
Vicki Turner Malone
Clarifying Ballot Measure 1
With less than two weeks until the election, the Exxon and Pebble funded opposition is pushing misinformation everywhere. The latest in their long line of deception paints Ballot Measure 1 as a plot to block access for Alaskans to our lands and waters. They say that this will prevent you from berry picking, fishing, hunting, four-wheeling, or even walking on Alaska’s land. This is an outright lie.
Ballot Measure 1 has nothing to do with limiting access to Alaska. Nothing about berry picking, fishing, hunting, four-wheeling, or generally being outside in Alaska will change. None of these activities will be affected by a YES on Ballot Measure 1.
The truth is…
Ballot Measure 1 will NOT restrict outdoor access for fishing and hunting. Currently, you do not need a fish habitat permit for sport fishing, hunting, rafting, or other outdoor activities. Ballot Measure 1 will not change that.
Four-wheeling and stream crossing requirements do NOT change under Measure 1.
Float planes do NOT require fish habitat permits; that will not change with a YES vote.
Measure 1 will NOT prevent access to subsistence lands and waters or for rural travel. Stream crossing requirements do NOT change under Ballot Measure 1.
You do NOT need a fish habitat permit for commercial or subsistence fishing. Ballot Measure 1 will not change that – nor does it have anything to do with who gets to fish or how many fish you can catch.
Ballot Measure 1 is backed by commercial fishermen, guides, outfitters, and lodges across the state. It is also backed by tribal organizations statewide, representing over 100 federally recognized tribes in Alaska. They know Ballot Measure 1 will not impact access, subsistence, hunting, or fishing.
The opposition is funded by Outside corporations – including Exxon and Pebble –– spending nearly $12 million to stop this initiative. They are scared of Alaskans being in charge of their own future and will say and do anything to stop Measure 1.
We need you all out there helping counter these lies. And we’re here to help out.
Director, Stand for Salmon
Ballot Measure 1 hurts rural residents and rural communities
Salmon have always been and will always be a vital part of our culture, history, and way of life. The decision by Alaska Native Regional Corporations to oppose Ballot Measure 1 was not easy, given our peoples unique connection to the land and water and the life they sustain, but there’s no doubt that our decision to oppose Ballot Measure 1 was right.
Supporters of Ballot Measure 1 are aggressively pushing a measure whose impacts they do not appear to understand or appreciate. This comes as no surprise to us, as the measure’s architects made no effort to engage all voices in the Alaska Native community or the Alaska public at large as they developed their proposal.
This was a measure drafted in private with no public input, hearings, or scrutiny – we find that ironic and hypocritical given that the supporters’ central argument in favor of Ballot Measure 1 is the need for enhanced public comment in developing fish habitat protections.
As the largest private land owners in the state, Alaska Native Corporations want to be – and have a right to be – at the table when matters that impact us so profoundly are being discussed. The fact that Ballot Measure 1’s architects ignored our voices is a source of deep concern. No one asked us for input, and no one sought our advice. Ballot Measure 1 is now before voters as a “take it or leave it” proposition and, under these conditions, it’s easy to see why we choose to “leave it.”
But our opposition is tied to more than principles of inclusion.
The flaws inherent to Ballot Measure 1 – from the problems it will create for our people to its failure to heed voices in our community– have motivated us to oppose this drastic policy shift.
Passage of this measure would cause immediate and lasting negative harm to vital rural infrastructure projects related to health and public safety. Moreover, the passage of the measure could impact our peoples’ ability to access the lands and waters our people have subsisted off for generations.
Supporters of the measure have been quick to dismiss critics as being motivated by narrow financial interests, but the reality is that the implementation of Ballot Measure 1 will do more harm to Alaska (and Alaskans) than its supporters are willing to admit – something we consider to be wholly irresponsible.
Ballot Measure 1 also represents a direct threat to our right of economic self-determination. The ability to develop our land and resources as we see fit was guaranteed to us under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act passed by Congress in 1971. Ballot Measure 1 would diminish our rights of economic self-determination, putting a damper on our future without doing anything to tangibly improve on existing habitat protection policies.
Alaska Native people have always had a special relationship with salmon and the other wildlife with whom we share this vast land. However, Ballot Measure 1 isn’t going to better protect Alaska’s salmon. Instead, it will harm the people and regions who rely on the land and water supporters of the measure say they are trying to protect.
Ballot Measure 1 is bad for Alaska Native people and bad for the state, and that’s why we’re firm in our opposition to this deeply flawed measure. We urge you to vote NO on Ballot Measure One on November 6th.
Andrew Guy, President & CEO of Calista Corporation; Shauna Hegna, President of Koniag, Incorporated; Gabriel Kompkoff, CEO of Chugach Alaska Corporation; Thomas Mack, President & CEO of The Aleut Corporation; Anthony Mallott, President & CEO of Sealaska Corporation; Sophie Minich, President & CEO of CIRI; Rex Rock, Sr., President & CEO of Arctic Slope Regional Corporation; Aaron Schutt, President & CEO Doyon, Limited; Gail Schubert, President & CEO of Bering Straits Native Corporation; Wayne Westlake, President & CEO of NANA Regional Corporation.
Collectively they represent nearly 120,000 Alaska Native shareholders and hold title to nearly 33 million acres of surface and subsurface estate in Alaska.
Ballot Measure 1: Alaskans Will Not Be Fooled
Alaskans will vote on the Stand For Salmon initiative on November 6. The opposition to this measure has used trickery, deception, exaggeration, and now outright falsehoods to confuse and mislead Alaskans. If you can believe their line I have a great parcel of Florida swampland I’d like you to consider.
Does anyone out there really believe the passage of this initiative will shut-down tourism, reduce our PFD, or force the state into bankruptcy? That is what a former governor—a man who undercut habitat statutes every chance he could- would have you believe.
Others opposing the initiative have stated that the Trans-Alaska Pipeline might be poorly maintained, and that the Dalton Highway (life gate to the North Slope) would not be repaired in a timely manner following a washout. All this is hogwash!
Ballot Measure 1 creates a two tier process in which smaller projects that pose no significant impacts to fish habitat— such as road repair, culverts, bridges, or docks —receive very light review and will be handled similar to the way they are presently. However mega-projects like Pebble Mine, Donlin Mine, and Chuitna Coal will rightfully be required to meet higher standards due to their potential harm to salmon habitat.
Pebble mine development poses a huge risk to the greatest red salmon resource in the world in Bristol Bay. The Donlin gold mine project has potential to destroy miles of wetlands and streams in the Kuskokwim River watershed. The Chuitna coal project, currently inactive, but if permitted would remove over 14 miles of productive salmon stream on the west side of Cook Inlet.
Industry should not be allowed to proceed with these projects unless they can show that they will not destroy existing salmon habitat. Alaska has the greatest abundance of wild salmon in the world and these stocks need to be protected into the future.
Some say that ocean conditions may be responsible for declining salmon returns in some stocks in certain locations around the state. This may be true, but it’s nothing at this time we can control. Yet even so, that’s why it’s all the more important to protect salmon spawning and rearing habitat in our anadromous rivers and streams.
So why are these big corporations spending millions of dollars fighting this ballot measure which is designed to protect Alaska’s valuable salmon habitat? Well yes, there may be a few more hoops to jump through and it may take a little longer to get project approval. And yes, that increased level of review will drive project costs up a little more. But is that not a price worth paying to insure that projects are done right and that salmon habitat is protected now—and into the future? I think it is.
This is too important an issue for Alaskan’s to allow themselves to be confused by the misinformation, unfounded speculation, and fear-mongering by the opposition in their effort to defeat this important measure.
Please take the time to read the ballot measure and then listen to the concerns of your fellow citizens, the folks in the bush, commercial and sports fishermen, and the many fisheries and habitat biologists whose careers were spent monitoring the fisheries’ and their habitat. Some have borne witness to the destruction caused by poor development practices and recognize the need for this initiative which puts clear, science-based salmon habitat standards in statute and provides for a public process when major resource development decisions, with potential negative impacts on salmon habitat move forward.
If we are good stewards of the resource, salmon can be here long after the last barrel of oil, the last chunk of coal, and the last ounce of gold is taken from Alaska lands. But that assumption comes with a big “IF,” and that “IF” is whether Alaskan’s do their job now and insure that salmon habitat is preserved and protected well into the future. Please vote with me on November 6. Vote YES on Ballot Measure 1.
Loren Flagg is a retired Alaska Department of Fish and Game fisheries/habitat biologist who worked in both Kachemak Bay and on the Kenai and Kasilof River systems. Following his retirement from the state he guided for several years on the Kenai River and also served as a consultant for the Cook Inlet commercial fishing industry. He is the author of the book “Fish, Oil, and Follies.”
Vote for the Fish
Vote for the fish on November 6 because they can’t vote for themselves. The foundation of our ecosystem and our economy is salmon. The seafood sector contributes $5 billion to the Alaskan economy. Salmon are a renewable resource as long as we take care of their habitat where they migrate and spawn.
The oil, mining, timber industries and their lobbyists are pouring millions of dollars into a false campaign called Stand for Alaska, trying to dupe residents into voting against Ballot Measure 1 because they don’t want the added responsibility and cost of doing business in our state to protect our fish. The current law on the books to protect salmon habitat from development is inadequate and was enacted 60 years ago during Statehood. It is past due time to update and strengthen these regulations.
Alaska has one of the few healthy wild salmon runs left in the world, providing commercial, sport, subsistence users and wildlife with livelihoods and food. There are many examples of places around the world where salmon runs have been wiped out by development and water-body degradation. In the State of Washington salmon recovery efforts have cost $5.5 billion over the last nine years.
To ensure that your kids and their grandkids can harvest and eat wild salmon it is time to bring our regulations into the 21st century. Industry is focused on their profit margin, not in protecting our public resource, our salmon. It is time to vote to Stand for Salmon, a vote that stands for Alaska and its heart and soul. Vote yes on Ballot Measure 1.
Endorsement for Mark Begich
I like Mike Dunleavy. I’ve considered him a friend. But Dunleavy for Alaska is running an ad that makes it seem I’m supporting him. I mean, really, who cares about my endorsement? But they never asked my permission and I’ve asked them to take it down. They’ve refused. And now they’ve doubled down and bizarrely started photo shopping images of Mike and I together to further imply my support. These advertisements indicate that Dunleavy for Alaska has an alarming lack of regard for the truth and seeks to mislead and deceive Alaskan voters. It also evidences a shocking willingness to disregard basic common courtesy.
I’ve endorsed Mark Begich. Why is that? Well, while Mike Dunleavy and I agree on a few things, we disagree on way more. I disagreed with him when he tried to kill Bree’s Law. I disagreed with him when voted to cut tens of millions from public safety. When he voted to cut prosecutors – which led to 7,000 criminals being set free because we didn’t have the resources to prosecute them. When he voted against Troopers. When he voted against increased domestic violence funding. When he voted against sexual assault funding. When he voted against substance abuse treatment. When he voted against education funding.
I disagreed with Mike when he was on the Finance Committee yet supported massive deficits and completely failed to even try to balance the budget. I disagreed with Mike when he voted to give billions in unaffordable tax breaks, tax deductions and tax credits to the oil industry – while Alaska remains the most profitable place in the world to do business.
I disagreed with Mike when he voted against our efforts to cut $4.4 million for new tennis courts in Anchorage while we had multi-billion deficits. When he voted against our efforts to cut millions for a new unnecessary Anchorage Legislative office. I disagreed with him when he voted against our efforts to cut $100,000 for a consultant to select office furniture for the new legislative office. I disagreed with him when he opposed our efforts to cut state gasline executive salary increases.
And while Mike eventually did come around to supporting the PFD, the fact remains that had he stood up in the first place when the PFD was being cut, we wouldn’t be in this situation. In 2016 he and every Republican in the State Senate had a chance to overturn Gov. Walker’s veto of the PFD. They all voted NO. In 2017, he and every Republican in the Senate had a chance to restore the 2016 PFD and pay a full 2017 PFD. They all voted NO – 6 times.
In 2014, Mike and every Senate Republican had a chance to add additional funds to the Permanent Fund. They all voted NO. In 2016, Mike voted against inflation-proofing the Permanent Fund. Heck, Mike held a big press conference in front of the Muldoon Fred Meyers and announced he was going to introduce a bill to restore the vetoed PFD, then actually voted against his own bill and quietly withdrew it. And while Mike now claims he supports putting the PFD into the Alaska Constitution, he failed to co-sponsor bills that I filed every year to do exactly that – despite many asking him to do so. And then he refused to vote “Do Pass” on my bill to put the PFD in the Constitution when it came to his committee.
So while I like Mike, and I hadn’t planned on pointing any of this out, the unscrupulous attempts by Dunleavy for Alaska to make it seem that I’m endorsing him really give me no other option.
Senator Bill Wielechowski
Alaska State Senate since 2007
I Stand for Salmon
We Alaskans are fish people plain and simple. We revere them, catch them, smoke them, can them, pickle them, view them in their natural state, consume them, sell them, share them, and revel in knowing that they prosper among us. Salmon bring nutrients to us from our oceans and breathe life into our wildlife, wetlands, and forests. Fish are a part of who we are whether they are salmon, trout, pike or blackfish. They are the bell weather of our health as a people.
Salmon were decimated, and in many cases extirpated, from western Europe, England, Scotland, Ireland, and North America’s east coast. Only remnants of wild stocks remain in very limited areas. Americans moved westward from our east coast in the 1800s and began to log, build dams, clear land, and grow crops. Salmon lost that battle as well.
Our leaders said not to worry. We will solve the problem by building hatcheries. It didn’t work. Wild stocks and their unique genetic makeup were lost forever. Hatcheries largely failed to the tune of billions of dollars. Now we are beginning to remove dams in California, Oregon, and Washington while attempts at fish and habitat restoration continue to cost the tax payers billions.
Alaska is the last bastion for Pacific salmon. The last bastion of relatively healthy native fish stocks. Historically, salmon have always lost the battle when pitted against political careers, money, economics and development. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Alaska’s fisheries and their habitat deserve better. It is time to give them the protection they need. A protection that, literally the world heretofore, has failed to do. The win/win is that this can be done in conjunction with healthy development of our other renewable and non-renewable resources!
As a former habitat and fisheries biologist and consultant on the gas pipeline in the late 1970s and early 1980s, I am so frustrated with all the misleading information, scare tactics, and negative ads regarding Ballot Proposition #1 in the media today. They talk about how extensive and comprehensive our current habitat laws are, betting on the presumption that you will believe them and never look for yourself! Title 16.05.871 is four short nebulous paragraphs! Who of you reading this piece have even read the portions (all four paragraphs) of Title 16 that protect our fisheries?
I believe very few people know what the current Alaska Statutes Title 16.05.871 says and how it protects our anadromous fish… and even fewer have read Ballot Measure #1 in full and understand how it is different and better for Alaska’s salmon and the people who depend on them. Instead, they choose to watch and be mis-lead by expensive and erroneous ads on television and their computers, paid for by big business purporting that the proposition is foolish and unwise and will stop every development project in the state. How ridiculous and foolish is that!
They quote government officials and leaders who claim that Ballot Measure #1 would stall and/or eliminate all transportation and economic development projects statewide. Let’s get real folks. The bottom line here is money. No one wants to be forced to get a permit or ask for permission from government to do anything, and none of the large developers want to spend a single dime beyond what is required by current law to protect fisheries and their habitat. Big business likes the current Title 16 fisheries habitat laws as currently written because they know they require the minimum effort and money to satisfy and mitigate their development activities. The people telling you this are mostly folks that care little about the resource and only about their profits and shareholders.
Permitting is part of the cost of doing business in resource development. All these organizations have biologists on staff or consultants who take care of permitting and mitigation of sensitive biological issues that arise during development and resource extraction.
Throughout my entire 60 plus years as an Alaskan resident, biologist, fishing guide, and former Board of Fisheries member, there is one thing I have heard over and over from every user group. “Let the biologists do their job! Take the politics out of research, management, allocation, and protection!” Ballot Proposition #1 is a clear honest chance to do that for once! Our current Title 16 salmon protection is outdated, lacks specific criteria and guidelines for fish protection, and worse yet, the go or no-go decision balances perilously on the fulcrum of the current political climate. Decisions about fish and their habitat can vary from the far left to the far right depending upon who sits in political power. This is the people’s chance not only to protect fish and their habitat, but also to decide as Alaskans what we want responsible development of our resources in Alaska to look like.
Will passage of Proposition #1 make development projects more difficult with more hoops to jump through for resource extractors? For some projects… yes. For others… no. Will Proposition #1 make important development projects obsolete/impossible? Definitely not! Salmon will not take priority over all other resource development in this state (our courts have said so) but it will lay all the cards on the table for all Alaskans to see and weigh in on. Transparency!
Ballot Measure #1, if passed, also gives the Alaska Legislature the option to weigh in on the specifics of the new statute and tweak it accordingly. We as Alaskans currently have no voice in development projects that greatly affect our fisheries resources other than our own grassroots efforts like the salmon initiative. Permitting decisions are made behind closed doors and ultimately decided by the administration and politicians currently in power. More importantly, what it will do in some cases, is require developers to do a better job at resource extraction. It may require developers to mitigate negative impacts on fish and their habitats, and post bonds that hold them liable and their “toes to the fire” to make sure it is done right, and tax payers are not left holding the bag.
One only has to look at Montana’s mining disasters of decades ago where the nation’s largest Superfund projects are still cleaning up the mess left by shady development entities at the tax payer’s expense.
Will this cost developers, and ultimately the consumer, more money? An increase in oil or gas prices? An increase in gold prices? An increase in infrastructure and transportation costs? It could. But, if it does, I for one am willing to pay that cost to make sure that our land, habitat and fish resources are protected. This is also known as the cost of doing business. Everything costs money. We pay gas taxes for better roads. We pay income tax for government services. Some pay taxes on alcohol and cigarettes to mitigate their negative effects on society. Increasing the cost of doing business is a common solution to many of our problems. I don’t like increased taxes any more than anyone else and I don’t want to see my costs go up for any goods or services just to buoy someone else’s profits or shares in a company. But if I have to pay 10 cents a gallon more at the pump… or a road tax to make sure our salmon have viable fish passage across roads and highways…or pay a few more dollars for my computer which uses silver and gold in its circuitry, to make sure our renewable natural resources are protected…I’m all in.
For me, Prop #1 is a no brainer. A win/win solution. We have a golden opportunity here to have a say in how we want development of our resources to look. I stand for salmon… and bears, and moose, and clean water, and clean air, and a healthy environment for my grandchildren. I also stand for jobs, a healthy economy, and wise use of our natural resources.
I ask you to educate yourself on this issue and be sure you understand it before you make a decision. Don’t rely on the Pebble leadership, or the Donlin Gold folks, or BP Alaska, or Conoco Phillips or even the for-profit Alaska Native Corporation leaders to guide you. I suggest you ask the common folks plying their nets in the Yukon and Kuskokwim Rivers for king and chum salmon and see what they think? Ask the folks who dipnet on the Kenai and Kasilof Rivers and sport fish for sockeyes in the Russian River. Ask the folks that are putting up dried fish at Kokhanok, Aleknagik, and Emmonak. Ask the children who had their last school field trip on Campbell Creek in Anchorage to learn about fisheries and their habitat. Ask the folks in the Copper River valley who fish salmon at Batzulnetas, and those who gillnet sheefish on the Kobuk. Ask the commercial set gillnetters in Cook Inlet and Nome. The seiners in Kodiak. Ask the Fairbanksans who dipnet in the Copper River. Ask the Alaskans who visit the McNeil River every year to watch the salmon jump the falls and provide sustenance for Alaska Peninsula brown bears.
Finally, just ask those Alaskans who want to see healthy fisheries in Alaska for their children and their children’s children. Don’t ask the heads of corporations whose only interest is delivering profits to shareholders. Please…don’t just vote your pocket book in November. Don’t sell out the one renewable resource that defines us as a people and a state. Vote your heart and do something good for once for yourself, your family, and all Alaskans. Don’t be afraid to vote yes on Proposition #1. Join me and Stand for Salmon.
We Must Elect Leaders to Save the PFD and the Permanent Fund
Jay Hammond had warned us that by capping, reducing, or eliminating PFDs: “As go dividends, so goes the Permanent Fund.”
The Permanent Fund Dividend is endangered. If we don’t save it now, the Permanent Fund itself will eventually die. To prevent this, we must elect candidates who will work to constitutionalize the PFD.
The PFD was based on prudent policy. The PFD has always represented your direct share of the state’s natural resource development under Article VIII, Section 2 of the Alaska Constitution. Our state leaders at the time believed that individual Alaskans—not government—could determine how best to spend their own small portion of our collective oil wealth.
Governor Hammond had very specific goals in mind when calling for adoption of the PFD. He knew politicians were always inclined to “spend every windfall to satisfy insatiable short-term needs and demands” instead of planning for the future. Hammond recognized the urgent need to lock away some of our resource wealth in an investment endowment that politicians could not touch. He envisioned the PFD would establish a “militant ring of dividend recipients” to resist invasion of the Permanent Fund if such spending would ever reduce their dividends.
The PFD was meant to forge the people’s connection to the Fund, to cultivate your understanding of your ownership rights and your involvement in its long-term wellbeing.
The PFD was designed to benefit every Alaskan equally. As Hammond put it, all residents should share in our resource wealth, not just “those who knew how to play the game [who] were able to secure subsidies for their pet projects, many times at the collective expense of all other Alaskans.”
Earlier this month, you received a $1,600 PFD. By statute, it would have been around $3,000. This was the third straight year of reductions. The Alaska Supreme Court in 2017 decided that the statute establishing the PFD could be ignored by the legislature and the governor. As your PFD is whittled away so your dividend can be spent on government functions, the sound policies underlying the PFD are undermined.
And your PFD now faces complete loss.
This year, the Alaska legislature passed SB 26 to use Permanent Fund earnings to pay for the state’s budget for the first time ever. Until now, your PFDs were the only significant item funded by the earnings of the Permanent Fund. Your PFD must now compete against government for funding from the same sum withdrawn from the Fund’s earnings. This means when government seeks more money, it’s going to take it from your PFDs. This is not fair to Alaskans.
Some politicians say SB 26 protects your PFD and prevents overspending of the Fund’s earnings. This is not true. Under SB 26, lawmakers are not required to prioritize the PFD. Government skeptics recognize this attribute of SB 26 was purposeful, meant to leave the legislature the option of eventually eliminating PFDs. And SB 26 cannot legally limit how much the state can spend from the earnings of the Permanent Fund. The legislature can always spend more, meaning that politicians may well deplete the earnings account, leaving nothing for PFDs.
Your PFD is at grave risk. As the Alaska Supreme Court observed: The only way to protect the PFD now is through a constitutional amendment.
Some contend the PFD should not be relied on as an “entitlement.” They argue that constitutionalizing the PFD is “unwise” because that money might be fully needed someday for government spending. This argument is alarming. It assumes that we shouldn’t care that by the time politicians will need 100% of our PFDs, it will mean the state has still not devised a better fiscal plan, sufficiently curbed spending, saved enough money, or implemented new revenue strategies. It would mean that the state could burn through unpaid PFD funds just as quickly as it had blown our tens of billions in other reserves.
Where would that leave us? Once the PFD is gone, politicians will set their sights on looting the corpus of the Permanent Fund.
Alaskans are not helpless to prevent loss of their PFD or placing the Permanent Fund in jeopardy. But we must take action before it’s too late.
It’s time to fulfill Jay Hammond’s vision for the PFD. We Alaskans must form Hammond’s militant ring of PFD recipients who can safeguard the Permanent Fund. This November 6, vote to send leaders to Juneau who promise to fight to constitutionalize the PFD.
Scott Kawasaki is a candidate for the Alaska State Senate and has served Fairbanks for 12 years in the State House. Bill Wielechowski is a state senator serving Anchorage for 12 years. Rick Halford is a former Alaska Senate President from Eagle River. Dr. Jack Hickel is an Anchorage physician at the Southcentral Foundation and son of former Alaska governor Walter J. Hickel. Jay Hammond’s quoted material in this piece may be found in his 1996 Anchorage Daily News opinion and in his published book, Diapering the Devil.
Mike Dunleavy will do what’s right for Alaska
Mike Dunleavy is hard-working, honest, intelligent, trustworthy and the man we need as Governor of Alaska.
I met Mike at a friend’s house in Kotzebue in the early-90s while serving on the regional school board of the Northwest Arctic School District. Mike had recently been hired as superintendent, and I was excited to meet the towering 6’7” man who I had high hopes would bring positive change to our school district (he didn’t disappoint).
I already knew his wife, Rose, and heard the story of how Mike drove from Koyuk to meet her in Noorvik, which greatly impressed me, as that’s no simple task.
My initial impression of Mike was that he’s not a guy who beats around the bush. He’s a straight shooter who tells it like it is – a trait that might not serve him well as a politician. Nonetheless, it’s why I know that when he says he’ll do something, such as protect the PFD, I believe him because that’s who he is – a man of his word.
Right off the bat as the new superintendent, it was clear Mike was a hard worker. He was always in the office working late into the night when everyone else had gone home and the first one there in the morning before anyone else had shown up. He always made sure he got the job done and done right, leading by example.
You won’t find a stronger or more informed advocate for public education, or someone who understands the different challenges faced by both urban and rural students, parents and educators. He’s done it all as a teacher, principal and superintendent, with experience in both environments. That’s why I know when his opponent tries to hurt his reputation with wild accusations that he will be bad for rural schools – I know there’s no truth to it. He understands the problems kids face in Noorvik under a completely different set of circumstances than Anchorage, and he knows that a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t make sense for every student.
He and I have worked together for years trying to give kids in rural Alaska more options. And so, I know first-hand his advocacy for making sure kids in rural Alaska have access to the same educational opportunities as kids in urban Alaska.
Mike is someone who understands – truly understands – what it’s like for folks living in rural Alaska because he lived there for almost 20 years. His family is from rural Alaska and he’s lived in a village of 600 people. In rural Alaska, they tend to judge strangers right away. If you don’t personify trust and prove that you’re a genuine person, they won’t like you, and people loved Mike. He treated everyone with kindness and respect and adapted to the new lifestyle; people accepted him. During his time in Kotzebue, he also earned a reputation of being a strong family man; he and Rose have done an outstanding job raising their three daughters, Maggie, Catherine, and Ceil.
We need Mike Dunleavy in there as governor to fight for what’s right. He’s the only guy running for governor who understands and lived through the problems we face every day. To me, it comes down to a choice between a career politician and Mike – a genuine person who tells the truth. I choose Mike.
Kenny Gallahorn, born and raised in Kotzebue, is a registered undeclared voter and served on the Northwest Arctic Borough School Board during Mike Dunleavy’s tenure as Superintendent of the Northwest Arctic Borough School District. Gallahorn also later served on the State Board of Education.
Dunleavy absent at fisheries debate
Mike Dunleavy decided not to participate in the fisheries debate in Kodiak. As a lifelong fisherman from a community that depends on healthy fisheries, I believe that we have a right to have our voices heard by those seeking to be Alaska’s next governor.
It is an insult to the men and woman who risk their lives on the ocean to ignore the issues facing our industry.
In my 45 years of fishing, I have seen some of the best and worst days of Alaska’s fisheries. I’ve heard my fair share of “fish stories” from fishermen and politicians alike. I’m a bit of an expert on detecting when someone is full of it.
I understand Dunleavy’s campaign manager, Brett Huber, is an opponent of commercial fishing in Cook Inlet, and the former director of the Kenai River Sports Fishing Association. It can’t be coincidence that Dunleavy is unwilling to speak to Alaska’s commercial fishermen.
If Dunleavy will not talk about fisheries issues, how can fishermen trust him to make decisions as governor in the interest of the fishing community?
Before oil, Alaskans were fishing. When oil dries up, Alaskans will still be fishing if (and only if) our elected officials act responsibly. Harvests are down, fuel prices are up, fishermen are getting older and the younger generation cannot afford boats and permits. When I retire I want to hand my boat to a young Alaskan who will continue the tradition. We need a governor who can make sure that legacy continues.
From my understanding Dunleavy says he wants to cut the budget by a billion dollars. If these cuts come to fish and game the health of the state’s fisheries will suffer.
For 27 years, candidates have come to Kodiak to discuss their fisheries policy because they value fishermen from around Alaska. They also come to prove they understand the industry and its challenges.
Does Dunleavy not care about the millions of dollars fishing taxes add to state revenue?
Or maybe he hasn’t thought much or bothered to learn much about fishing and doesn’t want to be embarrassed by his ignorance.
Each year fishing brings billions to Alaska’s economy. The seafood industry is the largest economic driver for many small communities, employing 21,000 Rural Alaskan residents, including me and my son.
Fishermen need to know where a governor stands on issues. Fishermen vote. And we vote for those who talk to us, respect us, and help us continue to preserve our way of life.
I cannot vote for a man who refuses to demonstrate basic respect for this important constituency, or even show he has a fundamental understanding of the issues we face. Unlike oil companies, we don’t have giant glass buildings, but make no mistake our industry, our voices and our votes matter.
James (Jim) Erickson is a non-partisan voter and commercial fisherman from Hoonah AK. He operates the F/V Caroline and has held a Power Troll permit since 1974.