How can the Donlin Mine even be safe?

“Is Calista partnering to create a subsistence committee made up of residents from the YK Region to provide feedback and comments to Donlin and Calista?

Yes.

Does Calista prioritize using the best-available environmental protections and the strongest and most stable dam design (which has never experienced a significant failure) for mine tailings?

Yes.”

How can Calista be so certain that this Donlin Gold Mine Project will ever be the safest mine in our region without harming the subsistence resources our native people traditionally depend upon? Why has Donlin chosen to build a liquified tailings dam instead of a dry stacked tailings dam? Wouldn’t the dry stack tailings dam be the safest choice to choose from? Who will all be part of the subsistence committee?

Mary Matthias

Bethel, AK

OH, FOR BIPARTISANSHIP!

In the wake of a tumultuous election season, now is a good time to seek a model of political goodwill that has been sorely missing from our state since Governor Dunleavy took office two years ago. It’s amazing how extreme partisanship has infected the most recent round of campaigning, giving rise to vicious divisiveness, mean advertising, smearing of reputations, twisting of facts, and outright lies.

It wasn’t always so, at least not in Alaska.

When I came to Alaska seventy years ago, I rapidly became part of my community, Anchorage, and got to know people throughout the territory – village Natives, sourdoughs, bank presidents, bureaucrats, veterans like me, and the like.

Parties existed, elections were held, and extremism was very rare. Imagine: in the 1950s one Territorial House of Representatives had 21 Democrats and 3 Republicans, and two years later we had 20 Republicans and 4 Democrats in the House (or some such extremes). As you can see, party allegiances were pretty fluid.

Far more important was the ability of people to work together. The fight for statehood is a perfect example. The official Alaska Statehood Committee was chaired by Republican Robert Atwood, appointed by a Democrat governor, and consisted of legislative and business leaders of both parties. We became a state because we could work together.

Alaska’s Constitutional Convention of 1955-56. I sat there for 90 days next to Barry White, a Republican businessman. He had been president of a citizen’s lobby for statehood that we had helped organize, and I was vice-president. We were the best of friends.

The Convention was totally nonpartisan. It had a firm rule: political parties were not allowed to even be mentioned on the convention floor. And we functioned extremely well under such a rule.

Alaska’s legislature has functioned for many years on a bipartisan basis. It has been particularly successful when we had a governor who could work with legislators regardless of their party. Egan, Hickel, and Hammond are excellent examples of such governors.

Let us hope that Alaska may yet experience a new era of bipartisanship as we put the 2020 election behind us and prepare for a new legislative session. That would be the foundation for successfully serving all Alaskans, rather than just special interests.

The next step? Finish the process of recalling Governor Dunleavy and his divisive agenda. Despite the pandemic, the recall effort now needs just 22,923 petition signatures to reach a special election and install leadership that can heal the wounds of extreme partisanship, follow the rule of law, and uphold Alaska’s constitution. If you haven’t yet signed a petition in 2020, you can request a mail-in booklet at the Recall Dunleavy website.

Vic Fischer served in Alaska’s territorial Legislature and its state Senate. He is the last living member of the group of 55 men and women who wrote Alaska’s state constitution and a co-sponsor of the non-partisan Recall Dunleavy effort.

Congratulations from AFN

The Alaska Federation of Natives, Alaska’s largest statewide Native organization, congratulates President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on their projected victory. AFN looks forward to working with the transition teams and seeing the new administration’s initiatives next year.

AFN also congratulates the American people for pulling off a presidential election during a global pandemic, said AFN President Julie Kitka. The front line election workers deserve our praise as we continue to praise the front line health and public safety professionals who are working so hard to keep us safe.

Alaska Federation of Natives

Anchorage, AK

I’m Incredibly Proud of The Campaign We Ran

Today, Dr. Al Gross conceded the race for Alaska’s U.S. Senate seat. The campaign anticipates that the final count will show a closer race than the current, incomplete count.

I’m incredibly proud of the campaign we ran, said. Dr. Al Gross. We were the underdogs from the start, but we ran a strong campaign and raised important issues that deserved to be heard. I want to thank my family, all of our supporters, our volunteers and our staff for their hard work over the course of this campaign and this vote counting process. I could never have made it without them.

I also want to congratulate Dan Sullivan on his victory. Even though we have passionate policy disagreements on what is best for Alaska, what is important now is that all Alaskans come together after a free and fair election. I will continue to work in any way I can to serve this state that I love so dearly.

Dr. Al Gross for U.S. Senate

Petersburg, AK

We ran a great race that we can all be proud of

This morning I called Don Young to congratulate him on being elected to his 25th term in Congress, said Alyse Galvin, Unfortunately, his staff was not able to get him on the phone, and I left him a voicemail. I hope he gets well soon. I thank my team, my supporters, and especially my family. We ran a great race that we can all be proud of. It is now time for all of us to come together to address the huge issues we face today starting with coronavirus.

Alyse Galvin for Alaska

Anchorage, AK

Cancelling indoor winter athletics a difficult decision

The following statement was issued by Interim University of Alaska President Pat Pitney on the decisions made regarding UAA and UAF winter sport competition:

I know personally how important athletics is to the collegiate experience, so I can appreciate the difficulty the chancellors faced in making their decision about whether to go forward with winter sport competition. In many respects, the chancellors’ decisions echo how they approached class delivery and campus operations this academic year. They made decisions based on local COVID-19 conditions and an analysis of the risks of competitive sports. They relied on guidance from the UA system, state and local municipalities, and public health authorities. Above all, the university prioritizes the health and safety of students, student athletes, faculty and our communities.

We share the governor’s concerns about the current increase in COVID-19 cases throughout Alaska and remain vigilant.

University of Alaska System

Fairbanks, AK

It is an honor to continue to represent our great state

Hello my fellow Alaskans.

Today, the final votes have been counted and it’s clear that you have given me the honor to continue to represent our great state in the United States Senate. This is an honor of a lifetime. I am humbled by your trust in me and my hardworking team.

For the past six years, we have worked together—hand in glove to get big things done for our state. We’ve made historic progress in many areas.

Our goal is to continue building on that progress and on our positive vision for a future – with a strong economy and safe, healthy communities – where all Alaskans and all of our children can thrive.

We are experiencing severe challenges as a result of the coronavirus—challenges that we will work through together.

We are a resilient state and I know that the spirit of Alaska will continue to remain strong.

It’s the spirit that’s been fostered by our Alaska Native communities who have been thriving for thousands of years in some of the harshest conditions on the planet. It’s a spirit honed by the pioneers who came here looking for promise and stayed to build a state of their own.

It’s the spirit that’s been honed by extreme challenges throughout our history: earthquakes, wildfires, volcanic eruptions, drops in the price of oil.

Working together—Alaskans helping Alaskans— we’ve always come through challenging times. And we’ve come through them stronger. We’ll do so again, regardless of background or political party, remembering that first and foremost we are Alaskans.

And I promise you that as your Senator, I will fight like hell against anybody from any party that tries to hold us back our reverse the progress we’ve made. We will protect what we’ve earned working together and build on our successes.

I received a concession call from my opponent today. I wished him and his family well.

In closing, I want to thank so many of you who worked to ensure that our election process ran smoothly—particularly Alaskans who volunteered their time at polling locations across our state during a pandemic.

Our elections—the backbone of our democracy—are mini-miracles only made possible because of these patriotic volunteers.

Once again, from the bottom of my heart: thank you Alaska for your confidence and trust. I am humbled and honored.

U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan

Washington, D.C.

Ballot Measure 2 Vote Counts

Brett Huber, campaign manager for Defend Alaska Elections – Vote No on 2, issued the following statement regarding preliminary vote counts for Ballot Measure 2.

While many thousands of votes remain to be counted, it appears that Ballot Measure 2 has taken a narrow lead. Regardless of the ultimate outcome, I am proud of the more than 161,000 Alaskans who stood shoulder to shoulder with us to resist a scheme by Lower 48 billionaires to throw our entire election system into chaos.

We were outspent in this campaign by a ratio of at least 14 to 1. Yet it was heartening to see thousands of Alaskans who were undaunted by the deep-pocketed Outside interest groups that seek to control our state’s future. They volunteered their time and sacrificed hard-earned money—not for any personal gain, but to defend simple and fair elections. They fought to protect the right of Alaskans to control our own destiny, and we owe them an enormous debt of gratitude.

Win or lose, it’s clear Alaskans need to take back control of the citizen’s initiative process. Outside special interest groups – who do not have to live with the consequences of these seismic changes – should not be able to manipulate our institutions so easily to their benefit. Alaskans deserve new guardrails around how initiatives can be brought forward, and the closure of loopholes created by Measure 2 on its own dark money sources.

We will end this campaign doing what we’ve done from the beginning: fighting to ensure that every last ballot is counted, and for free and fair elections in the Last Frontier.”

Defend Alaska Elections

Anchorage, AK

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